AUSTRALIA has had some wins in meeting fumigation requirements for exporting barley to India, agriculture minister David Littleproud says.

Mr Littleproud spoke at the Rural Press Club of Victoria recently where he talked about barley and trade with our Asian neighbours.

“We’ve been working continually with India and in fact we had some wins on barley only in the last couple of weeks around some of their fumigation requirements which obviously helps our barley producers,” the minister said.

“It’s an emerging market that provides considerable potential for Australian farmers,” he said.

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I think what we should all take out of international trade and the recent events here in Australia is that exporters, in simple business principles, should not have market concentration it’s important that we spread the risk.”

Mr Littleproud said the government had been “very forward leaning” regarding trade agreements.

“A trade agreement, formal trade agreed with India is obviously the gold standard that we’re trying to achieve, we’ve got to continue to work through that,” he said.

“But having a closer relationship with India is the first part of being able to achieve a free trade agreement.”

Mr Littleproud said to date he had been unable to speak with his Chinese ministerial colleague regarding barley tariffs and bans on meat from some Australian abattoirs.

“But as we made it clear to Chinese officials, my phone is always on and my door is always open, as is the same for Simon Birmingham,” he said.

“But we are continuing to work through that and obviously, the four abattoirs that have been impacted. There is an appeals process that we’re undertaking with China domestically.”

He said Australia had to be pragmatic.

“So we’ll be demonstrating quite clearly the premise that Australian farmers and particularly barley farmers were subsidised to the fact, to the point that they were able to dump grain into China, is a premise we strongly reject,” he said.

“And as I say, we’ll work through that process.”

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