COVID-19 crisis: China warns Australian beef could suffer

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The warning comes from China’s ambassador to Australia, Jingye Cheng, who said the consumption of other agricultural commodities such as wine could also be reduced in addition to less Chinese students and tourists coming to Australia.

China is one of the remarkable success stories of the red meat industry, with Australian beef exports increasing 60-fold in the past decade. In rapid time, it’s become the third largest export market after the US and Japan, and moving ahead of Korea.

Based on rising incomes and continued urbanisation, MLA says beef consumption is expected to rise from 6.7kg/person in 2017 to 8.1kg in 2027. In the past two years Australian red meat sales have been in part been driven the devastation of the Chinese pig herd because of African swine fever.

The highly-contagious hemorrhagic virus devastated pig populations in 2018-19, resulting in major rises in the cost of pork, far and away the most popular meat in China.

The Morrison government is maintaining its call for an independent inquiry into the origins of COVID-19. It also wants changes to the World Health Organisation over its handling of the pandemic.

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