The delegation to Germany is part of Australia’s broader push toward strengthening agriculture exports and building new trading partnerships at a time when the European Union (EU) is under a cloud of uncertainty about the trade implications of Brexit.
Joyce’s trip to Berlin comes after German Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt, visited Australia last year to discuss further agricultural engagement between the two nations.
The Agriculture Minister of the world’s fourth-largest economy toured the University of New England SMART Farm and a local beef cattle property in the New South Wales town of Armidale last year with his Australian counterpart.
With the G20 representing 80 per cent of world agricultural trade, ties to the EU are important for the almost $9 billion in imports and exports exchanged between Australia and Europe’s borders.
Minister Joyce said as a bloc the EU is Australia’s second largest agricultural trading partner and an important destination for premium Australian agricultural and food products.
“Discussions with EU countries will provide a good chance to promote Australia’s credentials as a supplier of safe and high quality agricultural products and to discuss the opportunities for our agricultural sectors under a proposed Australia-EU free-trade agreement,” Mr Joyce said.
“I welcome the opportunity to reinforce Australia’s already strong agricultural and trade relationship with the EU,” he said.”
The Australian Federal Agriculture Minister said robust international partnerships were essential to a stable and resilient global economy and it was important for Australia to participate in international forums like the G20 Agriculture Ministers’ meeting.
“Sustainable agricultural growth and sustainable water use are vital for global economic and political stability, and I look forward to meeting with G20 and other agriculture ministers to discuss the fundamental role of good agriculture and water policies to achieve this,” Mr Joyce said.
“There is much that we can contribute at an international level by sharing Australia’s experiences, our successes and our challenges, but equally a great deal we can learn from our partners who face similar challenges,” he said.
During his visit, Minister Joyce will meet with ministers from a number of Australia’s key trading partners for discussions on ongoing agricultural market access and trade.
“Australia is an advocate of open markets as we understand that farmers need efficient access to markets, both domestic and international, to obtain the best price for their products so they can be profitable and invest in innovation. Profitable and innovative farmers make for sustainable agriculture sectors,” Mr Joyce said.
Minister Joyce will also chair a Ministerial session on water access at the 9th Berlin Agricultural Ministers’ Conference and will partake in the Global Forum on Food and Agriculture.