STAND FIRM: Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud said the Australian Government had its “hand out” for discussions with China. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage
STAND FIRM: Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud said the Australian Government had its “hand out” for discussions with China. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage

Producers told to look elsewhere amid China trade spat

SOUTHERN Downs producers seeking an export resolution have been given little comfort as Maranoa Member David Littleproud declares producers should look into alternative markets.

At a Granite Belt National Ag Day event on Friday, the Federal Minister for Agriculture said the Morrison Government had not backed down on its firm stance regarding an investigation in the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.

"We will continue to make sure we're ready to engage in dialogue with them but what Australia will not do is compromise its values, its principles or its security. Not just with China, but any nation," he said.

"We have a sovereign right as a nation to make and implement our own legislation and laws and we do want to impose that on any other nation but we have a sovereign right to do that in Australia and we will not resolve from the fact we will continue to do that."

It comes as Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters this week the responsibility to amend the trade relationship didn't "lie with China at all."

 

Daniel and Toni Nicoletti stand with MP David Littleproud and GBGA president Angus Ferrier in front on the gorgeous Nicoletti Orchards at a press event on Friday.
Daniel and Toni Nicoletti stand with MP David Littleproud and GBGA president Angus Ferrier in front on the gorgeous Nicoletti Orchards at a press event on Friday.

 

The impacts of the dispute also seemed to be growing within the Southern Downs as major Warwick employer John Dee still failed to reached a positive outcome following a forced suspension in August.

The Granite Belt wine industry too feared a "significant loss of income" if a Chinese investigation into dumping allegations continued.

Mr Littleproud admitted the conflict could "potentially" hurt Southern Downs agriculture but said national security "outranked" everything.

Instead he urged the sector to look elsewhere in the interim.

"Ultimately, it is their commercial decision to decide where they trade into," he said.

"What people who are concerned must understand is the Australian Government has never said to any industry you must export to China.

"In fact there are 14 free trade agreements in place that allow our producers to export into multiple countries. Industries have to understand a simple business principle is never to have market concentration, that is a risky thing to do.

"Our job is to give them the opportunity to export into other markets, we have done that."


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