A trade show of food is set to take place in Melbourne this weekend and a range of trade shows is planned for Australia over the coming weeks.
The Melbourne International Food Trade Exhibition is set for Friday evening and is expected to feature more than 40 trade shows in Melbourne and around Australia, with many of the show’s exhibits showing off food products that are used in Australian kitchens.
“I think Australia is one of the most important countries in the world to the food industry, especially the Chinese,” Dr. Stephen Hsieh, who chairs the Victorian Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, said.
“Australia has some of the highest demand for Australian ingredients and the Chinese have developed some very successful local markets, but they don’t export to Australia.”
We need to develop our own market and we have some very good examples, like the Chinese.
“There is a need for the industry here to develop a market here and it’s about creating the environment for growth.”
Hsieh said the Victorian Government was working with the Chinese to develop their own market in Melbourne, but he was also aware of the growing number of countries around the world that were seeking to enter the Australian food trade.
“The Chinese are the largest exporter of Chinese goods to Australia and they are also the largest importer of Australian ingredients,” he said.
HsieHsieb, who is also a member of the Chinese National Food Association, said China had a strong food business but was also looking to build up its own market.
“They want to become a major player in the global food business, but we have to look to the US as a model,” he added.
“If China wants to expand, they need to have a market that is large and that is healthy and that they can support.”
In 2017, Australia imported more than $9.5 billion worth of Chinese food, a figure that had grown to $12.2 billion by 2021.
“It’s a huge industry that is in Australia because it’s very important for the economy of Australia and the world, and there’s a lot of demand,” Hsieb said.
“The Chinese also have a lot to offer in terms of education, in terms, they have a really strong culture of learning and they’re an educated people and we know that China’s people are very skilled in the craft of making food.”
Dr. Hsiec is not the only Chinese expert to highlight the importance of the food trade in Australia.
In 2017, Australian Minister for Agriculture and Food, Barnaby Joyce, announced a new Chinese Food Trade Alliance that would work with the Australian Food and Drug Administration and Australian Food Technological Development Authority to support China in developing its own local food markets.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for us to work with our Chinese friends to help build up their own local market and that’s what we’re doing, supporting them in building up their markets in Melbourne,” Joyce said.
Joyce is also keen to highlight what he calls Australia’s “golden opportunity” to export to China.
“For China to export its own food to Australia, it has to have an excellent supply chain and we’re the world’s largest exporters of Australian grain and meat, but also it has an opportunity to export Australian food,” he explained.
“That is the key to this.”
A good supply chain can help build Australia’s reputation as an attractive place for exporters and then, if we’re exporting, it’s a much better opportunity for exporter companies to grow their businesses in Australia.
“Hsu, the Australian ambassador for China, said the country had a huge appetite for Australian food and its products.”
China is a huge exporter and their exports to Australia are the highest in the OECD,” he told the ABC.”
Our biggest exports are our food, we have more than 200,000 tonnes of food exported to Australia every year.””
I believe it’s going to become the largest food trade area in the Western world.
“Hsi said China’s trade with Australia would be a “significant part of our food trade strategy” and would contribute to the “global supply chain” of Australia.
The ABC has contacted the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) for comment.