WAFIC were invited by the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment (DAWE) and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to participate in a nation-wide, sector-wide industry consultation this morning to discuss implications of the recent US-China Trade deal and update of the ongoing impacts being experienced by the Coronavirus across industries. Each of the primary sectors attending gave a high level overview of impacts to date and impacts pending. WAFIC represented the seafood sector.
The key takeaways to note from the meeting are:
- There is widespread dysfunction within China at the moment, with road closures and inability to process paperwork / export documentation etcetera due to an increasing number of workers staying home. Freight in and out of ports and road transport are heavily affected, ongoing delays are expected. A high level of administrative dysfunction will have significant affects on all trade partners.
- The Australian Government are very aware of the effects of Chinese companies implementing Force Majeure on contractual arrangements across the different sectors and industries. The ability to do this is regulated by the Chinese government to international guidelines and to date there have only been two applications (LNG sector). The commonwealth is monitoring this closely for impacts to Australian companies.
- Fran Freeman, First Assistant Secretary at the Department of Agriculture, provided a new government address for Australian companies to contact regarding business assistance and queries about (alternate) market access. The email is : email@example.com
WAFIC will continue to provide updates to industry about the situation in China as more information comes to hand.