A DELEGATION from China with interests in buying WA grain toured the State's supply chain last week in a bid to increase understanding of our farming systems.
The group hosted by Austrade included representatives from some of China's most important agribusiness companies with interests in buying Australian products.
Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre co-ordinated the WA leg, which included a tour of the CBH Kwinana port site and a farm at York.
Austrade business development manager in agribusiness Chuck Yang said it was recognised WA was a major player in grain production in Australia and it was important potential international customers understood the care and attention given to their grain at this end.
"What we're hoping is the Chinese delegates can get a general idea of how it works in WA, from how the plants grow, to see the trade and get to know more about Australian grain to help them consider doing more business here," he said.
"It's good for them to understand it from this side of the world and they will know what they're buying has been taken good care of and it will be of high quality when it arrives in China."
Mr Yang said the delegates came from a range of companies across China, including a new player from Mongolia looking to source stockfeed, representatives from the country's largest food processor and trader China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation (COFCO) and leading Chinese brewery Tsingtao where Australian barley is already used to produce Tsingtao's world-famous beer.
AEGIC markets program leader Barry Cox said the tour gave AEGIC a unique opportunity to showcase WA and act as an independent conduit between the visitors and government organisations, industry stakeholders and trade.
"Many of the delegation have not visited Australia previously or have limited exposure to Australian farms and storage and handling systems," he said.
"They visited a farm in York, and the CBH Kwinana port to learn more about logistics and meet with industry including the Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA), Grains Industry Association of WA (GIWA) and grain trading companies."
As a result of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA), it is expected China will be interested in sourcing more Australian products such as wheat, sorghum, corn, rice and malting barley as tariffs fall on barley, grain sorghum, a range of grain-derived starches and wheat gluten.
Austrade trade commissioner Jeff Turner said the visit would allow Australian producers to explore long-term trade and investment opportunities with key members of the world's largest grains market.
"China is the world's biggest consumer of grains, and also a very big producer of many products that rely on grains and pulses as an input, such as beer," Mr Turner said.
"The government is relaxing staple food grain self-sufficiency targets to focus on greater production of value-added crops and livestock.
"With the anticipated easing of tariffs on certain Australian grain imports and related products under ChAFTA, this is an ideal time for our industry to meet with Chinese buyers to understand future needs and investment opportunities."
The delegation also attended Sydney's Fine Food Expo and the 17th Barley Technical Symposium.
"Australian grains attract a premium price in China thanks to strengths like our clean and green growing environment, state-of-the-art farming systems, and ability to tailor grain products to specific end-user purposes," Mr Turner said.
"We have a strong reputation for reliability and quality, and there has never been a better time to take our already very good long-term co-operation to the next level."