Call comes for food and beverage sectors to export to China

07 September, 2006

Austrade’s Chief Economist Tim Harcourt is calling for Australia’s food and beverage sectors to actively pursue China as an export market, following the release of statistics that show our food exports to China have almost doubled in five years.

“The increased interest in Australian food and beverages is driven by China’s strong economic growth – with recent estimates upping its annual rate to almost 11 per cent – along with strong growth in per capita income, which is driving demand for food and food related products,” Harcourt said.

“The activity is due to China’s move to improve the distribution of income and spread economic development to poorer regions – particularly in the west and the interior and in the ‘second tier’ cities, where there’ll be more opportunities for Australian food exporters throughout the country.

“This is good news for Australia and also can be attributed to our reputation as an exporter of clean, green produce, helping Australia become well placed to capture a fair slice of the Chinese food market,” he said.

According to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Australian food exports to China have almost doubled in the past five years, growing by 94 per cent to $1.3 billion compared to a 56 per cent growth rate for the US (with total food exports at $3.2 billion), 52 per cent for the UK ($1.2 billion), 43 per cent for New Zealand ($1 billion), 38 per cent for Korea ($1.1 billion) and 30 per cent for Japan ($5.4 billion).

To ensure Australian businesses are aware of the expanded export opportunities in China, Austrade is working on a number of initiatives, one is to encourage Australia’s food and beverage producers to participate in its ‘Celebrate Australia in Shanghai’ (Oct 21-24) event.

Austrade’s Shanghai-based Senior Trade Commissioner, Christopher Wright said the event is the first ever promotion of Australia in China of its kind and will introduce Australia as a source of style and innovation. 

“Celebrate Australia is designed to allow visitors to experience Australia, while providing participating Australian businesses with an opportunity to showcase their products and services and establish key contacts, which in turn results in export sales,” Wright said.

“Australian food and beverages will be available in the five City Supermarket stores in Shanghai.  City Supermarket are purchasing products for this in-store Australian promotion.  The stores are located in Shanghai’s more exclusive suburbs and inner city CBD areas and are open to the public and shoppers.  The core clientele are expatriates and white collar/upper end local Chinese. 

“With China’s development and growing sophisticated consumer taste and needs, the demand for imported food and beverage products is steadily increasing. 

“In Shanghai imported food and beverage products are seen in most of the product categories such as dairy, fresh, grocery and dry products.  Chinese consumers already recognise Australian products and brands especially wine, beer, dairy and meat,” he said.

The Austrade East China team is working together with many allies and sponsors including the Australian Consul General in Shanghai, Tourism Australia, Qantas and other sponsors to support a week of activities and events taking place in Shanghai during late October.