NSW produce was front and centre of the massive trade expo in Shanghai where NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair led a trade mission to help boost commercial opportunities.
Mr Blair told The Land that he received positive sentiment from the Chinese president’s expo address that China was open for business despite a looming trade war with the United States. He said that because the Chinese loved Australian produce for its clean and green qualities, he did not see any major effect if the US and China came to more trade blows.
Moving south from Beijing, talk of a US trade war faded very quickly, he said. Also he was able to reassure Chinese buyers that the drought had not affected our supply or quality of products.
Mr Blair joined delegates from 130 countries at the China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai where 3000 companies, including over 50 from NSW, were exhibiting everything from milk and skin care products to wine and health supplements. The CIIE attracted over 150,000 domestic and foreign purchasers, including some of the China’s biggest purchasers including Suning, Alibaba, and JD.com.
“We are filling that premium Chinese market and they are seeking our products for the quality and safety of it. They see it as clean and green and really healthy for their lives. And we are commanding a premium for that. With the way the middle class is growing I can see those markets there for the long-term.”
“China is NSW’s second biggest export market valued at nearly $8.7 billion and there are a range of NSW companies at CIIE, from our biggest retail brands to smaller businesses which are just starting their exporting story and are unafraid to take on the world’s biggest market,” Mr Blair said.
“Some of these smaller businesses have incredible stories, like the family owned Shaw Vineyards in Murrumbateman who are offering same day delivery from their warehouse in Shanghai. Another is Du’it, a skincare company in Western Sydney which started out of a garage 20 years ago and is now one of the leading companies in skincare in China.”
“The drought is affecting a lot of businesses, particularly those exporting fresh food and agriculture yet we’re still competing at the top in the global marketplace. As I toured the exhibition I was encouraged to see so many NSW food and beverage businesses there flying the flag.
“The message I’m hearing is clear, the demand for our high quality Australian goods is at an all-time high, drought or no drought.
“The success of these exporters sends a powerful message to Australia about the impact of export led growth. Australian companies that export are more likely to generate jobs, create higher wages and prosper in the long term.”
Mr Blair’s office said the fastest growing category for exporters is ‘edible products’ which includes products such as pasta, sauces and infant food – the category has grown nearly 158 per cent over the past five years to almost $813 million. Milk, cream, whey and yoghurt, have also grown significantly by over 71 per cent and are now worth $47.5 million. Pharmaceutical products grew by over 63 per cent, worth nearly $104 million.