What’s holding beef back?

When it comes to international trade, investors like stability. And the beef industry is no different.

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Pic: A crowd watches the scenes at Beef Week

Speaking to bluenotes from Rockhampton during Beef Week, ANZ’s Head of Agribusiness Australia Mark Bennett said a lot of trade talk during the week centred around the US’ role in the reformed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the impact this would have on the industry.

"The one thing about distortions and interruptions to international trade is it does impact confidence in investment.” - Bennett

“Clearly if Australia has a tariff advantage over US beef into to the important Japanese market it is a positive outcome for Australian industry,” he said.

“But the one thing about distortions and interruptions to international trade is it does impact confidence in investment.”

For a transcript of this video, click here.

“Over the longer term you’d like that to be more stable,” Bennett said. “[That way] industry can just get on with knowing what's in front of them and producing to their advantage.”

Australia produces around 4 per cent of beef globally, Bennett said, but punches above its weight with around 15 per cent of global trade. About 70 per cent of Australia’s total production goes into the export market.

One producer looking at export opportunities in more ways than one is Andrew Olive of Raglan Station, an 11.5 thousand hectare property south of Rockhampton. 

“The Indonesians the Filipinos buy a lot of boat cattle,” Olive told bluenotes. “Now they want to source the genetics so they come to where the genetics are produced.”

For Bennett, competition from the US is just one of a number of regions challenging Australia in the Asian beef market, including Europe, New Zealand and Canada.

“We do have strong competition in these markets,” he said. “We've had and enjoyed preferential market access to China for example for chilled beef.

“There's still an opportunity for Australian industry but there's a need to rebuild the herd first. And we're balancing that right now but we're still in early days of a rebuild. “

Jason Taylor is a Regional Executive, Central Queensland at ANZ

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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