Unprecedented access to the world’s largest export market for Riverina producers is almost in sight with the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) to be set in stone by Christmas.
Cottontails Wines owner Gerry McCormick is excited by the opportunities presented by the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement. Picture: Les Smith
Legislation to enable the ChAFTA passed the lower house and is set to sail through the Senate next month after securing bipartisan support.
The agreement will see tariffs for exporters–as high as 30 per cent in some key markets –start to reduce by December and be phased out over four years.
Cottontails Wines owner Gerry McCormick, who started exporting his product to China in February last year, said the agreement would “open all the doors” for the region’s producers.
“The prices being more competitive are important, but also the aspect (of) it’s news, so people will talk about it,” he said.
“It’ll start them buying (in China) and then the general public will see more product on the shelf.”
Mr McCormick has appointed a Melbourne-based export agent who is “actively scanning” for clients as he looks to ramp up the volume of his exports to China.
Cottontails may be one of a small number of Riverina-based producers actively tapping into the Chinese market at present, but more businesses in the region are now expected to explore opportunities in the world’s most populous nation, according to member for Riverina Michael McCormack.
“Both state and federal governments will be gearing up to take foodies, CEOs and company directors over on business trips to see exactly how best we can tap into these Chinese markets,” he said.
“It’s a great opportunity, it really is, and it will add millions to the Riverina gross product.”
Other industries in the region expected to benefit include wheat and beef, while the agreement also provides opportunities for Charles Sturt University (CSU) and its graduates.
CSU will have its courses recognised by Chinese institutions and employers once the agreement is ratified.
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