Learning how to supply and market beef to a country with a very different language and culture such as China may seem a daunting task.
A helpful first step is gaining a sound understanding of the regulatory framework and the wide range of trade and market development services available.
This paper summarises the key bodies, their areas of responsibility and the services they provide.
Financial assistance for market development
Many producers are not aware that Austrade provides substantial financial assistance to new exporters.
The Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) scheme is a key Australian Government financial assistance program for aspiring and current exporters.
The EMDG scheme:
- encourages small and medium sized Australian businesses to develop export markets
- reimburses up to 50% of eligible export promotion expenses above $5,000 provided that the total expenses are at least $15,000
- provides up to eight (8) grants to each eligible applicant.
Eligible expenses include market research, travel, registration of trade marks and other activities that would be necessary to develop a brand in China
Austrade’s step by step guide to exporting and international assistance is great starting point for research
Key Austrade resources are
The NSW Government (Trade and Investment) provides assistance with export development and foreign direct Investment.
The NSW Department of Primary Industries gives extension assistance to producers on issues including biosecurity.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade oversees FTAs and market access issues.
Meat & Livestock Australia
Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) supports levy payers in in marketing their products, domestically and in export markets including China.
Producers wishing to develop and export business should liaise with MLA to ensure full access to resources, assistance and listing once their business is established.
Meat & Livestock Australia has offices located in key export markets including China to promote and grow demand for Australian red meat. MLA conducts customised marketing and market access activities as well as a range of programs and activities, tailored to each key export market and distribution channel.
Australia's red meat brand True Aussie underpins MLA's international marketing activities globally.
Training for potential exporters
ALEX has various courses and training programs for prospective exporters.
EFIC, Australia's export credit agency, operates on a commercial basis and partners with banks to offer export finance to producers.
It is essential to understand the various accreditations and licences required by both the Australian Government and the Chinese Government. Accreditation is required to pack and process meat. In addition under the Australian Meat and Live-Stock Industry Act 1997 a person in management and control of a Meat Export Business must hold an Export Meat Licence.
Under the Australian Meat and Live-Stock Industry Act 1997 all Export Abattoirs and Export Boning Rooms must hold AUS-MEAT Accreditation to process and/or pack meat for export. In addition, the Chinese government, independenty accredits facilities for export to China. In the NSW, the Northern Meat Cooperative is one of only two facilities that is accredited by both governments and is willing to provide contract processing and packing services.
AUS-MEAT, the Australian meat industry standards body lists abattoirs with licences to process meat for export. Small meat exporters who do not own processing facilities, can engage a licenced packing processor to export on their behalf or can obtain their own Non Packing Exporters (NPEs) licence.
All Export Meat Licence holders must have AUS-MEAT Accreditation before they will be issued with a Licence. The AUS-MEAT web portal provides the necessary details about the qualification requirements (Quality Systems Accreditation) that is required by NPEs.
The Export Meat Licence is issued by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) which also monitors export quotas and handles biosecurity and market access matters.
Quality control and compliance
The Manual of Importing Country Requirements (MICoR) covers China's standards applying to imported beef.
Australia's robust meat quality assurance system is central to the value proposition of Australian meat in China.
The National Residue Survey (NRS) monitors residues, vet chemicals and environmental contaminants in Australian food commodities.
The National Feedlot Accreditation Scheme (NFAS) is a feedlot quality assurance scheme.
The National Livestock Identification Scheme (NLIS) is a livestock traceability system to assure product integrity, safety and market eligibility.
SAFEMEAT is a meat food safety partnership between industry and government.
A partnership between the Australian Government and Australia’s red meat and livestock industry, SAFEMEAT promotes best-practice management systems and implements strategies for the safe and hygienic production of red meat in Australia, ensuring Australia’s commitment to meat safety and its internationally recognised disease-free status. It provides oversight and direction on meat safety systems along the production supply chain: on-farm, at the feedlot, in the saleyard, in transit and during processing and distribution.
SAFEMEAT promotes best-practice management systems as well as direction and advice on key issues that can impact meat safety, including:
Stringent standards and systems exist along the red-meat supply chain to maintain the integrity of the product from farm or feedlot to saleyard, in transit, during processing and distribution. These programs are independently audited, with SAFEMEAT advised of overall compliance.
With systems including Livestock Production Assurance (LPA), National Saleyard Quality Assurance (NSQA) and the Department of Agriculture Health Certificate, customers are guaranteed that the integrity of the red-meat products they buy has been protected along the whole supply chain.
Australia’s red meat and livestock industry has implemented several measures to guarantee traceability from birth to point of export.
The National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) forms the basis of Australia’s globally-renowned success in traceability, giving Aussie beef producers the capacity to meet increasingly stringent traceability demands from domestic and export customers.
Australia’s disease-free status is widely recognised. The nation is regarded as having ‘negligible’ risk status (the highest status available) for Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE), as being 100 percent free from Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), and having plans in place that enable rapid, effective control and management of any emergency disease outbreak. SAFEMEAT keeps a ‘watching brief’ for any such outbreaks and will advise on any developments regarding zoonotic animal diseases, here or abroad, that may impact Australia’s red meat and livestock industries.
Australia’s red meat markets demand that Australian products be free of unacceptable chemical residues. Australia’s ability to meet stringent standards regarding chemicals underpins its excellent reputation for safety in food and agricultural production.
Adherence to Withholding Periods (WHP) that are reviewed regularly and monitored closely; Export Slaughter Intervals (ESI); and Export Grazing Intervals (EGI) provide the foundation for Australia’s reputation for minimal chemical residues in red meat.
Other Australian government programs such as the National Residue Survey (NRS) randomly monitor residue levels in agricultural products and meat-producing livestock to ensure that all products remain within internationally acceptable limits for chemical residues.
The Australian red meat and livestock industry and the Department of Agriculture conduct regular pathogen assessment and monitoring programs to protect Australia’s global reputation as a source of safe, quality red meat.
The Generic E.coli and Salmonella Monitoring Program is a national program involving microbiological monitoring of carcase surfaces and is an example of Australia’s dedication to ensuring its red meat products are hygienic and safe. Read more >
LIvestock Production Assurance (LPA)
Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) requirements ensure food safety along the supply chain. To obtain LPA accreditation, livestock producers must agree to abide by LPA Rules and Standards, undertaking specific on-farm practices that mean the red meat they produce will be safe to eat.
From 1 September 2016, producers seeking LPA accreditation for the first time must work through the new LPA Learning tool via AUS-MEAT Limited’s LPA Service Centre (30 minutes, approx.), then do an online assessment. From January 2017, producers will be required to log in to the LPA Service Centre and complete a 10-question assessment
Industry bodies that can assist with trade
NSW Australian Business Chamber (a formal partner of NSW Farmers) helms the federal government's Trade Start Program, delivering business matching and helping with market identification. The Chamber has an office in Shanghai and can offer valuable independent services with regard to matters such as due diligences on Chinese agents and distributors, product registration and general risk management.
The Export Council of Australia is the peak body for the export community.