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Aust aims to blitz China with exports to boost food industry

23 October, 2007

A huge blitz to raise the profile of Australia’s food and beverages in China by Austrade, the Australian Government’s export development agency, will be boosted by representation at Food Hospitality China 2007 (FHC).

Austrade’s China country manager, Peter Osborne, said it is wise for Australian businesses to take part in trade missions and industry events in China, like FHC that gets underway in Shanghai from 14-17 November.

“China is set to become the next economic giant and Australian businesses can help satisfy its hunger and quench its thirst,” Osborne said.

“China’s food and beverage sector was worth around $125 billion in 2006, up by over 25 per cent on the previous year. Austrade is striving hard to increase awareness of the abundant export opportunities arising from increased consumer spending.  As demand in China grows, Austrade is extending its reach in China and now has 13 offices there.”

Sydney-based CoffeeMasters has already sent samples of its roasted coffee to China. Managing director, Geoffrey Suranyi, said the samples were received very positively and now they’ll set up an office in China.

“It’s difficult to export pre-roasted coffee to China, so we’re sending a roaster over there and will set-up an office in China which will be Australian-owned.  About 20 per cent of the coffee beans used will be from Australia,” Suranyi said.

“Participating in FHC will hopefully also give us a jump-start into China to get a few more customers on board.  Our main markets will be hotels and up-market restaurants – mainly four and five star where there’s a predominantly ex-pat clientele.

“Our business is what is called ‘fair trade’, which means when we purchase coffee from places. such as Honduras and Ethiopia, we pay the normal price and then 10 per cent of the profits go back into build better villages and schools.

“Russell MacGuire is a master roaster - he created our excellent, well-balanced coffee and has achieved international recognition.  You can judge a good coffee using the nose, palette and throat – you have to try to hit those three sensory areas - an average coffee is like an apple pie without good crust,” he said.

Nineteen Australian organisations will showcase their Australian wine portfolios at Austrade’s Australian National Pavilion at FHC this year.  Austrade’s Shanghai-based Senior Trade Commissioner Christopher Wright said there’s been extraordinary growth in the volume and value of Australian wines exports to China over the past year.

“During September this year alone $53 million of Australian wine was exported to China, a total volume of 21 million litres – of which 95 per cent was red wine according to the latest AWBC Wine Export Approval Report,” Wright said.

“In June 2007, China became the number one destination in Asia for Australian bottled wine exports.  The range of Australian bottled wine available for sale in China and the number and diversity of Australian suppliers seeking Chinese partners and buyers is growing every day,” he said.

Austrade has been involved in many initiatives throughout 2007 in an effort to increase Australia’s exports of food and beverages to China.  It brought a record number of Chinese buyers to Fine Food Australia held in Sydney in September.

“Already export orders are starting to flow as a result of negotiations undertaken whilst overseas buyers were in Australia for the Fine Food exhibition,” Osborne said.

“In addition, the Chinese are interested in Australia’s food safety expertise.  Austrade will accompany a key Chinese delegation to Australia in late October. They’re looking at Australian expertise in testing equipment and technology relating to product traceability.

“Austrade’s China team is also partnering with the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation (AWBC) in November to launch the Chinese translation of the Wine Australia 4 Brand Strategy.  AWBC has recognised China as a priority emerging market and is supporting Jeremy Oliver to present at the Chinese language 4 Brand Strategy launch,” he said.

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