Knowledge

To provide the latest market news and hold online & offline events to assist you being well-informed and making decisions.

13

2023

-

02

China Speeds up Imports of Australian Beef

Source:

Reuters

China's ports have been clearing cargoes of Australian beef within one or two weeks since the start of this year, much faster than the months taken during the last two years, industry participants said on Friday.

 

China's ports have been clearing cargoes of Australian beef within one or two weeks since the start of this year, much faster than the months taken during the last two years, industry participants said on Friday.

 

The latest sign of thawing tension between the two countries comes after a visit to China by Foreign Minister Penny Wong, the first such trip by an Australian minister in three years.

 

Last month, China allowed four companies to resume coal imports from Australia following an unofficial ban on the trade since 2020, with the first cargoes arriving this week.

 

"Australian beef distributors are reporting much faster processing times recently at Chinese ports," Andrew Cox, Singapore-based general manager for international markets at trade body Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), told Reuters.

 

Clearing times have dropped to about one to two weeks since January from two months previously.

 

Australia is one of China's top suppliers of beef but volumes from there have plunged since 2020, even as the country buys larger quantities of beef overall.

 

China suspended six Australian beef factories from its market in 2020, citing labelling irregularities and other technical issues.

 

Imports from other Australian suppliers continued, but detailed inspections by customs extended clearing times for weeks, say Chinese importers, leading some buyers to switch to other suppliers.

 

"Overall the time has shortened, things are quicker," said Shanghai-based Ambrose Cheung, former Asia commercial manager at Australian packer Bindaree Beef, and now with New Zealand exporter ANZCO.

 

Containers of Australian beef are being processed in about two weeks, though that's still slower than the few days in the past, he added.

 

Typically, containers of meat are processed within days, say Chinese meat importers.

 

China abandoned COVID tests for chilled and frozen food imports from Jan. 8, which may also have helped speed up processing, said importers.

 

Australia shipped 145,000 tonnes of beef to China in the first 11 months of 2022, up 19% on the prior year, according to MLA data, but sharply down from 300,000 tonnes in 2019 before the factory suspensions.

 

China imported 2.73 million tonnes of beef in 2022, up 65% since 2019, according to Chinese customs data, and worth 120 billion yuan ($17.64 billion).

 

The faster clearing times are already helping trade, with more Australian beef available on the market since January, said a Beijing-based beef importer.