The formalising of a commitment to the Australian-Sino 100-year Agricultural and Food Safety Partnership on Tuesday will see Tasmania inch closer to becoming a larger contributor to China’s food bowl.
Premier Will Hodgman and Minister for Primary Industries and Water Jeremy Rockliff formalised the agreement during a meeting in Hobart with ASA 100 founder Andrew Forrest.
Mr Hodgman said the partnership involved 50 of the most prestigious agricultural investors from Australia and China who will meet annually with Federal and State ministers, and seeks to establish Australia as China’s key food supplier.
“Building on our successful ties with China is important for the future prosperity of Tasmania, for growing our economy and for creating jobs for Tasmanians. Our reputation for fresh air, clean water and rich soils, which grow world class produce, is unlocking further opportunities for our state. There’s a growing appetite for our major sectors of produce such as dairy, meat and fresh fruit and vegetables, and Tasmania is ready to seize the opportunities through the ASA 100,” Mr Hodgman stated in a media release.
“Today’s visit by President Xi Jinping and Madame Peng Liyuan, together with the inaugural TasInvest conference, is an unprecedented chance to strengthen the economic and cultural ties between Tasmania and China, which is our state’s largest trading partner and major source of much needed investment in our state.”
The Minister for Primary Industries and Water Jeremy Rockliff said the agreement had the potential to boost exports between Tasmania and China, especially following Australia’s Free Trade Agreement with China.
“ASA 100 provides Tasmanian agri-business the opportunity to increase the export of our Tasmanian high quality and safe food products into China, particularly as Tasmanian farm gate output increases to $10 billion by 2050. Demand for our premium produce continues to grow and ASA 100 gives us the opportunity to work with other Australian suppliers to better market our unique offering,” Mr Rockliff said.
“Already, Tasmania is leading the way with fruit, abalone and rock lobster to China, but there’s growing opportunities for our clean, fresh produce particularly salmon, berries, red meats and dairy. Yesterday’s historic Free Trade Agreement will unlock further opportunities to ensure our products are competitive in the Chinese marketplace.”
Mr Forrest said Tasmania was an island of opportunities.
“The FTA signed in Canberra yesterday is a once in a lifetime opportunity for Australia, and especially Tasmanian agriculture investment. Organisations like the ASA 100 are the meat to the bones of the FTA. Food safety is China’s number one priority, and a unified Australian agricultural brand signifying clean, fresh, safe and high quality produce will appeal to the ever increasing Chinese middle class,” Mr Forrest stated.
“It was great to spend time yesterday and today with Premier Will Hodgman and President Xi, I’ve got an enormous amount of time for both and they should become great mates. Today’s announcement brings the eyes of China, and the world, onto what is a state filled with opportunity. From end to end, there’s not a square inch in Tasmania that can’t be used for agriculture or eco-tourism.”