Beef exporter urges action to free up trade barriers
THE Federal Government has deflected from outlining how it is easing non-trade barriers for chilled beef exporters into China, but says it is committed to addressing the issue.
Oakey Beef Exports general manager Pat Gleeson said non-trade barriers remained the major impediment to the abattoir getting its fresh red meat stocks in Chinese supermarkets direct from Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport.
The Oakey abattoir has undergone multi-million dollar expansions to boost processing numbers and meet the anticipated demand from Chinese consumers.
Taking the question from the Empire Theatre floor on Thursday after his first national address of the year, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the "whole free-trade business is a slog".
The 11-nation trade pact under the Trans-Pacific Partnership, he said, would accelerate access into new markets including Japan.
"(We) just have got to keep working at it and be sure that we will," Mr Turnbull said.
"The TPP-11 will accelerate our access to the Japanese market as well which is, of course, another huge market."
Seven abattoirs were hit with export bans by the Chinese government last year because of a labelling error, but Oakey Beef Exports was not among them.
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce told Mr Gleeson the government had reversed the bans and had "expanded our chilled beef access into the Chinese market".
"We've made it our goal to get over there (China) and do a lot of work," Mr Joyce said.
"We've massively expanded our exports into China (and) into Vietnam."