New figures from Dairy Australia confirmed 36 per cent of all exported dairy was destined for China in 2021-22, whether it was cheese to Chengdu, butter to Beijing or milk to Macau.
The new data comes as Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong met with her Chinese counterpart Wang Li, the first such ministerial meeting since 2019.
Greater China tops the league table for the 2021-22 financial year, with 303,397 tonnes exported during the 12 month period.
Singapore was the silver medallist, taking in about a quarter of China’s tally, on 80,869 tonnes while Japan took out bronze on 69,963 tonnes.
Dairy Australia trade and industry strategy manager Charles McElhone said unlike some other sectors, Australian dairy had maintained a presence in Chinese retail and hospitality over the past two years.
Substantial tariffs on barley, seafood and wine were implemented by the Xi Jingping regime in 2020 after a diplomatic freeze with the Morrison Government.
“Our trade with China has been quite stable and demand for dairy remains strong,” Mr McElhone said.
“There are some challenges moving forward with regards to shutdowns and consumption within China as a result of domestic policies. However, there’s greater recognition in China of the role of dairy in the diet which is promising.”
Rounding off the top 10 included Malaysia on 63,600 tonnes, Indonesia in fifth place with 59,147 tonnes, the Philippines on 43,313, Thailand on 31,118, Vietnam on 30,325, New Zealand on 22,922 and Taiwan on 22,666 tonnes.
The Greater China figure includes Hong Kong and Macau, former British and Portuguese colonies respectively, which have enjoyed a degree of self-governance in the past two decades until Beijing subsumed control over the cities in recent years.
Source: Alex Sinnott, The Weekly Times