Good news for six of the main beef firms in Australia, as China lift a suspension for beef imports into the country, as reported by abc.net.au.
The ban is estimated to have cost the exporters a million dollars each day it was in place, with them having to seek alternative markets to supplement a loss in sales. The negotiations continued for over three months until the suspension was finally lifted this week.
The companies in question affected by the ban were Thomas Foods International, JBS Beef City, Australian Country Choice, Kilcoy Pastoral Company and Northern Co-operative Meat Company. Exports from Monbeef were also suspended about 4-6 weeks ago.
The problem was described as “expensive” by the Chairman of the Australian Meat Industry Council, Patrick Hutchinson, who said conservative estimates say it cost at least a million dollars per each day of the suspension. He said the suspension was based on an issue with labeling mistakes on the outside and inside of beef products.
"In a chain of 30 cartons a minute there's going to be mistakes of labeling or misinterpretation of labeling programs," said Mr. Hutchinson.
"China was seeing those mistakes and implemented the suspension to get the confidence in the system," he added.
Matt Dalgliesh, a Livestock market analyst with Mercado, said that lifting the ban was a significant result for the companies involved, even though they export to much bigger markets already.
"It's a good thing. There was a fair amount of money in those consignments," said Dalgliesh.
Mr. Dalgliesh said they were happy with the quick resolution to the problem, even though only a week was required by Chinese officials to sort out the ban on Brazilian beef products. Steven Ciobo, Trade Minister, said recent discussions held during a visit to China were behind the resolution of the issues.
"We've had really good cooperation. They've been keen to get this resolved… so we can get the trade resumed," said Mr. Ciobo.
Chief executive of the Northern Co-operative Meat Company, one of the companies banned from exporting to China, Simon Stahl said they were happy with the time taken to resolve the ban.
"It's nothing different to what we saw in Korea and Japan in the 80s and early 90s, similar issues...It’s had an impact, but it's like any interruption to trade and we have to adjust," he said.
A meeting between governmental officials and The Australian Meat Industry Council is set to take place this week, with talks expected on turning the system back on. It is also expected that permits will be issued over the coming weeks.