SYDNEY - Australia has sent its largest ever trade delegation to China. The mission is focusing on agriculture as Australia's economy adapts to the end of a long mining boom.
This week 1,000 business people from Australia will visit 150 locations across China to seek out new opportunities offered by the free trade agreement between the two countries.
Agriculture is a key focus of the largest trade delegation Australia has ever sent to China.
The challenge for Australia is to make the transition from an economy dependent on a long mining boom that is now fading to one that is more diversified.
Australia's Reserve Bank has said that food exports to China have increased by more than 15 percent over the past decade, and, at this rate, will overtake iron ore exports by 2030.
Australian Minister for Trade and Investment Steven Ciobo said China offers a wealth of opportunities.
“What we want to do is grow Australian exports, grow Australian opportunities for investment and if we do that successfully, we know that we'll drive jobs and growth in the Australian economy,” said Ciobo.
China’s demand for high-quality agricultural and food products is growing rapidly. Australian government researchers are predicting that China will account for 43 percent of global growth in agricultural demand by 2050.
Australian producers of beef, dairy products and wool hope to cash in on burgeoning demand among China’s growing middles classes.
China is Australia's biggest trading partner and a bilateral free trade agreement was signed late last year.