Canberra, Beijing to ink deals on beef, energy
SYDNEY: Australia and China are expected to sign new bilateral agreements on beef exports, energy and security during a fourday visit by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang that began yesterday.
Li was welcomed to Parliament in Canberra by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull amid extra security in the capital in the wake of an attack outside Britain’s Parliament.
Australia is seeking to take advantage of China’s decision earlier this week to suspend meat imports from Brazil due to a scandal over sales of rotten and salmonella-tainted meats.
Australia, however, may have little scope to increase meat exports as its cattle herd is languishing near a two-decade low.
Graziers were forced to cull cattle in record numbers following a drought induced by an unusually strong El Nino weather system between 2014 and last year.
Beef is among Australian agriculture exports to China that were worth more than A$8 billon (RM27.02 billion) last year.
They have been propelled by the wide-ranging China-Australia Free Trade Agreement signed in 2015, cementing China position as Australia’s largest trading partner.
“We believe that to resolve trade imbalance we need to continue to expand trade. That is the solution. We cannot close our doors,” Li said in Canberra. Reuters