Australia and China have had an on/off relationship in terms of food trade for a while. At times, China fully welcomes our products into their market. At other times, they ban our items without giving so much as an explanation. This month alone, we have seen both of these in play.
Supermarket chain, Aldi, has their sights on China and plans to bring Australia into the scheme. The German retailer is going to make their goods available online in China. They also want to supply Australian food and wine in their program.
The promise is that Aldi will supply produce that is ‘clean and green’ – which is a huge part of their reputation. Majority of these products will be sourced from existing Aussie contacts. This will offer many of Aldi’s supply partners a new distribution channel and access to the world’s biggest market.
Beijing has recently banned the selling of a Victorian infant formula on the mainland. Viplus Dairy, which was founded in 2013, has had their import licence suspended by Beijing on November 4.
The company has not been given any reason for the ban but in June the regulator said it had blocked 3.8 tonnes of Vilpus formula from entering the country citing incorrect labelling. Following this ban in June, the entire Australian dairy industry has been put on notice by Chinese authorities. This has been enforced since late August over disputes over the quality of fresh milk products being delivered to mainland China.
Is such a volatile trade relationship healthy for the Australian economy? Or for the food safety reputation of Australia internationally?
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