Australian meat exporters are set to benefit from China's decision this week to accredit 28 cold store facilities and four red meat plants around the country as the first step in a system-wide approach to approval of meat storage facilities for shipping.
The deal, announced as a result of the Prime Minister's trip to China, means exporters can save money by consolidating large loads of meat for shipping.
Processors will be able to store their product and export it when commercially viable in response to demand.
The deal also recognises Australia's own certification systems for cold stores and allows for facilities to be added to the already-approved 28 facilities without special consent from China.
Chinese imports of Australian beef last year surged nearly 250 per cent on 2011, to 27,300 tonnes. The imports were worth $130 million, up 160 per cent. Imports of Australian sheep and goat meat were also up sharply on 2011 shipments.
Dr Emerson said this week's deal would help clear the way for continued dramatic growth in Australian meat exports to China.
"China is a rapidly growing market for Australian beef producers," Dr Emerson said.
"This agreement creates game-changing efficiencies for beef processors around the country," he said.
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Senator Joe Ludwig said the deal was a win for Australian beef producers and exporters.
"The growing Chinese market presents fantastic opportunity for our farmers," Minister Ludwig said.
"This arrangement is a testament to the high quality of Australian beef, as well as our reputation as a high-quality exporter."
This week's approval and listing of the red meat establishments and 28 cold stores represents a large increase on the number of registered plants able to export to China. The listings will be formalised shortly by China, after sourcing arrangements and expected export volumes have been recorded.
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