The free trade agreement signed by Australia and China late last year is “delivering” for Australian businesses, the nation’s Minister for Trade and Investment said on Monday [2 May 2016]. Steven Ciobo said the Chinese appetite for premium Australian products such as wine, beef, seafood and vegetables had contributed to a number of impressive gains in export levels, and praised the government’s decision to sign the historic China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA)…Full Article: Xinhua May 2016

Key Points

  • Chinese imports of Australian wine, lobster, abalone, mangoes, cherries, milk powder, fresh/frozen boneless beef, cheese, and forage (e.g. hay and chaff) increased as a result of ChAFTA.
  • From January to March 2016, China imported US$160 million worth of Australian bottled wine, a 60% increase vis-à-vis 2015. Imports benefited from a cut in Chinese import tariffs (14% to 8.4%).

ChinaAg Comments

  • In December 2015, China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) came into force.
  • In June 2015, China and Australia signed a free trade agreement. As a result, Chinese tariffs for Australian beef would be eliminated within nine years.
  • In November 2014, China and Australia signed a preliminary free trade deal.
  • In 2013, mainland China agricultural imports from Australia totaled US$8.3 billion and primarily consisted of fibers, raw hides, meat, oilseeds, cereals, and wine. In 2013, mainland China imported US$1.8 billion worth of Australian wool (not card/combed) and US$1.6 billion worth of cotton (not carded/combed). Combined, these two commodities accounted for 43% of all agricultural imports. After fibers, China imported US$607 million worth of rapeseed and colza seeds, and US$586 million worth of frozen beef.
  • In 2008, China and New Zealand signed a FTA that set in place the removal of tariffs on 96% of New Zealand exports. This removal has been staggered over time, with certain agricultural exports being tariff free by 2012-2013 (infant formula, wine, apples, etc.), 2016 (edible offal, oranges, beef, etc.), 2017 (butter, cheese, liquid milk), and 2019 (whole/skim powdered milk). New Zealander wheat, sugar, and rice will not have receive reduced tariffs.
  • In 1971 (a year before US President Nixon’s visit), Australia’s Prime Minister Edward Gough Whitlam visited China and met with Zhou Enlai (Premier of the People’s Republic of China). This meeting later resulted in Australia’s official recognition of the PRC.

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