Push to beef up China trade

Geraldton Guardian - - NEWS - Gavin Box

Ger­ald­ton is po­si­tion­ing it­self to tap the lu­cra­tive Chi­nese mar­ket for live beef ex­ports.

Mayor Shane Van Styn was part of a re­cent City of Greater Ger­ald­ton del­e­ga­tion to China and said of­fi­cials in Zhoushan were keen to re­ceive di­rect im­ports of Aus­tralian agri­cul­tural prod­ucts.

Zhoushan, which has a strate­gic re­la­tion­ship with Ger­ald­ton, will open a China-Aus­tralia free trade zone in Fe­bru­ary and wants to im­port up to 800,000 head of cat­tle an­nu­ally.

Mr Van Styn said Ger­ald­ton ex­ported be­tween 20,000 and 40,000 head of cat­tle to In­done­sia. “We spent some time dis­cussing grains pro­duced in our area, along with emerg­ing hor­ti­cul­ture and the po­ten­tial to grow beef ex­ports out of Ger­ald­ton,” Mr Van Styn said.

He said while the fo­cus was on live cat­tle, there was po­ten­tial to ex­port fruit and veg­eta­bles and to sup­ple­ment vol­umes with pro­duce from Carnar­von.

“Beef ex­ports in par­tic­u­lar is a mar­ket that can grow,” he said

“The de­mand (in China) un­lim­ited.

“For Ger­ald­ton, what this means is ac­cess to bet­ter prices, new mar­kets, and it will help stim­u­late re­de­vel­op­ment of the North­ern Ran­ge­lands.”

The City also signed a mem­o­ran­dum is of un­der­stand­ing with of­fi­cials from the Chi­nese city of Lin­fen which would al­low Ger­ald­ton small busi­nesses to con­nect di­rectly with Chi­nese con­sumers via an in­ter­net por­tal sim­i­lar to eBay.

Mr Van Styn said the in­ter­face would use English lan­guage at the Ger­ald­ton small busi­ness end and Chi­nese lan­guage at the con­sumer end.

He said the peer-to-peer tech­nol­ogy, which he hoped to be up and run­ning within nine months, would give smaller Ger­ald­ton pro­duc­ers and man­u­fac­tur­ers di­rect ac­cess to Chi­nese mar­kets.

The Ger­ald­ton end of the por­tal would be op­er­ated by the City of Greater Ger­ald­ton and funded by the Mid West De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion.

The Ger­ald­ton del­e­ga­tion also met of­fi­cials at Zhe­jiang – a re­ceival point for Mid West iron ore and min­eral sands – for what Mr Van Styn de­scribed as re­la­tion­ship build­ing.

The mayor, eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment man­ager Tr­ish Pal­monari and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer Han Jie Davis were part of the del­e­ga­tion which vis­ited China last month.

Mr Van Styn said City of Greater Ger­ald­ton Cr Si­mon Keemink had planned to be part of the del­e­ga­tion but did not take part.

Cr Keemink’s ab­sence re­vised the trip’s cost­ings down from $20,000 to about $15,000.

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