UQ leads efforts to improve Australia-China agricultural engagement

The University of Queensland is leading a collaborative project to assist Australian agricultural organisations refine and improve their trade strategies toward China.

A team led by UQ’s Associate Professor Scott Waldron , will partner with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) and the University of Southern Queensland (UniSQ) to conduct seminars for Australian and Chinese organisations in the beef, dairy and feed sectors.

Dr Waldron said the project would enable organisations to build new links with China and explore areas of common interest.

"Prior to 2019, China accounted for one-third of Australian agricultural exports, making it our largest trade partner," Dr Waldron said.

"It is our biggest meat export market, our largest wool export market, and was - until recent sanctions were introduced and subsequently lifted - our biggest barley and wine export market.

"While trade barriers and geo-political tensions have reduced this trade, China will remain a predominate player in the future of Australian agricultural exports.

"The seminars will assist Australian agriculture to understand and navigate the new trade landscape."

Dr Waldron said it was important that Australia’s agriculture sector was equipped with the information to properly assess both the opportunities and the risks of trading with China.

"We aim to shed new light on trade developments in China and what they mean for Australia," he said.

The University of Southern Queensland’s Associate Professor Ben Lyons said policy intelligence was lacking in the Australia-China context, but this project would go a long way towards bridging that gap.

"There used to be a really strong dialogue between the Australian and Chinese agricultural sectors, but this was impacted by COVID and the bilateral tensions," Dr Lyons said.

"We’re hoping these seminars will once again facilitate links between our respective agricultural sectors.

"The sessions, this month and next, will explore the policy drivers behind China’s production targets and trade barriers, looking at changes in their agricultural industries and their strategic imperatives.

"By addressing this, we will be better able to predict developments in China’s agricultural industry, and therefore have better insight into how to engage with this market."

The project is co-led by Dr Zhang Jing from UQ’s China Agricultural Economics Group. UQ is proud to be a National Foundation for Australia-China Relations grant recipient. The National Foundation for Australia-China Relations works to promote enhanced cooperation between Australia and China. For more information, visit the National Foundation for Australia-China Relations website.