“If this is the Coalitions idea of trade diplomacy, its little wonder the government has failed to deliver a credible path out its current trade woes with China,” trade spokeswoman Madeleine King and resources spokesman Ed Husic said in a statement.
In an opinion piece for The Australian, Senator Canavan said China should “pay a price” for targeting Australian exporters.
Wine, lobsters, timber, cotton, barley and coal are among the industries collectively worth billions of dollars in sales to feel China’s wrath, either through the imposition of punitive tariffs, vague environmental breaches or unofficial bans.
Australian Grape and Wine chief executive Tony Battaglene said winemakers wanted the government’s export promotion agency Austrade to receive extra funding for promotion as well as tackling market access barriers in the Mid-year Economic and Fiscal Outlook, to be handed down on Thursday.
“It’s [the impact of China’s trade strikes] clear and present for many industries now and people would be looking for a bit of government leadership,” he said.
Mr Battaglene, who has met senior ministers to discuss the industry’s plight after $1.3 billion in sales were snuffed out, said the government’s strategy needed to look after the interests of a range of industries.
“We’re at that stage where any market diversification is going to be cross-sectoral,” he said.
Despite the hit to exports, Mr Battaglene said the industry was not seeking direct taxpayer support for individual winemakers. A shortage of wine following several years of drought and bushfires was helping keep up prices, as was local demand.
GrainGrowers chairman Brett Hosking said the industry had made a pitch for $20 million from the government to explore options for malted barley to be sold in new markets, as well as value added domestic production.
Mr Hosking said it seemed the government ‘s preference appeared to be to treat agriculture as one sector, but the grains industry had concerns over that approach because different commodities faced different impediments.
While selling more wine to India has been identified as a growth opportunity, Mr Hosking said barley sales were more difficult because Indian officials regarded wild radish leaves as a weed.
“It potentially slows progress because a lot of barriers are industry or country specific,” he said
National Farmers’ Federation chief executive Tony Mahar said primary producers did not need a myriad of programs to chase new markets, which include India, Indonesia and Vietnam.
“There should be a whole of agriculture approach but flexible enough to do specific things,” he said.
Mr Mahar said the issue was not one of Australian branding but addressing the different standards and testing arrangements individual countries impose.

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