ELDERS has negotiated a significant export deal with one of China's largest agricultural operations, the Xuzhou VV Group, for a shipment of 3000 live dairy heifers worth more than $6.5 million.
The shipment of Holstein-Friesian heifers will be bought from Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia, and possibly WA.
It is likely to leave Australian in September.
It will be the third such shipment of Australian dairy heifers contracted by the VV Group through Elders.
The first consignment of 2500 head in August last year was followed by a second shipment of 3000 head in March this year.
A Memorandum Of Understanding has also been signed for broader cooperation between Elders and the VV Group, which has in recent years substantially expanded its dairy operations.
This major development is expected to strengthen the ongoing trading relationship between the two companies.
Elders representatives will be granted a Business Licence from the Shanghai Government, establishing the company's wholly-owned Shanghai-based trading company Elders China.
"Granting of this licence will enable Elders to generate increased trade between the two countries and will allow the company to offer a significantly larger portfolio of high quality agricultural products and services to China," Elders China chief representative Nichols Hunt said.
Establishing Elders China has involved acquisition of Glenmore China, the most well-known importer and supplier of Australian meat in China.
Glenmore has been supplying premium Australian meat to the food industry service in China for the past 10 years.
Today's announcements involving Elders represent a major step forward in the development of the trade and economic relationship between China and Australia, something the Governments of both countries have been seeking via the Australia-China Trade and Economic Framework that was signed last year.
"This is a further example of the internationalization of the Elders business and a recognition of the growing importance of Asia - in particular China - to Australian agribusiness," said Mr Jack Gleeson, General Manager of Elders Meat and Livestock, who flew from Australia especially for the occasion.
From what began as a one-person operation in 2001, Elders' China operations now employ more than 30 people.
According to Mr Hunt, the Elders-China relationship is very much a two-way affair.
Wool and livestock are Elders' current core exports to China, with other commodities such as grain, meat and horticulture growing in importance.
At the same time, Elders has also commenced exports of Chinese fruits to Australia and is attracting significant Chinese investment in Australian real estate.
And China produces a large amount of the agricultural chemicals, fertiliser and merchandise that is sold through Elders' extensive Australia-wide branch network of more than 400 outlets.
The combined value of Elders' China exports and imports are projected to reach $400m in the current financial year - representing more than $1m per day.