Merino de­mand takes re­la­tions to next step

Countryman - - WOOL - Bob Gar­nant

Cel­e­bra­tions are in or­der to mark more than 50 years of Aus­tralia and Chi­nese wool trade re­la­tions.

This bind­ing part­ner­ship has made China as the largest buyer of Aus­tralian wool, buy­ing up to 80 per cent of its pro­duc­tion.

Today, Aus­tralia ex­ports 271 mil­lion kilo­grams of the nat­u­ral, re­new­able and biodegrad­able fi­bre to China, rep­re­sent­ing a sharp rise from pre-1980 when this fig­ure was less than 10 mil­lion kilo­gram. Once a man­u­fac­tur­ing hub, China in re­cent years has also fast be­come a large con­sumer of lux­ury ap­parel.

The Chi­nese tex­tile and ap­parel mar­ket is worth a stag­ger­ing $2.76 bil­lion as part of China’s trans­for­ma­tion into a global pow­er­house fol­low­ing its de­ci­sion to open up to the in­ter­na­tional econ­omy.

With 1.4 bil­lion peo­ple driv­ing a new con­sumer cul­ture and an econ­omy grow­ing at more than 7 per cent an­nu­ally, China is chang­ing but what en­dures is the coun­try’s vast ap­petite and pas­sion for Aus­tralian Merino wool and its deeply com­mit­ted re­la­tion­ship with Aus­tralian wool­grow­ers.

A del­e­ga­tion of Chi­nese me­dia, in­dus­try and in­flu­encers vis­ited Aus­tralia in May, to not only ex­pe­ri­ence the ori­gin of this fine fi­bre but also cel­e­brate the spe­cial bond be­tween the two coun­tries.

Through host­ing del­e­ga­tions like these to Aus­tralia, The Wool­mark Com­pany and Aus­tralian Wool In­no­va­tion aim to ex­pose emerg­ing con­sumer mar­kets to Aus­tralian wool and broaden con­sumer choice in in­no­va­tive wool gar­ments.

In ad­di­tion, a com­mem­o­ra­tive book shar­ing per­sonal sto­ries from in­dus­try stal­warts and those shap­ing its fu­ture has been pro­duced.

AWI chief ex­ec­u­tive Stu­art McCul­lough said China con­tin­ues to re­main the sin­gle most im­por­tant buyer of Aus­tralian wool.

Merino wool is revered in China.

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