Car manufacturing assistance hurting food sector, says Bega big cheese

Bega Cheese group CEO Barry Irvin has suggested that government support to car manufacturers is costing food exporters opportunities in Asia.

Bega Cheese group CEO Barry Irvin has suggested that government support to car manufacturers is costing food exporters opportunities in Asia.

Irvin told rural-focussed newspaper The Land that government support for the local car industry is undermining the chance of securing freer trade with China for Australian food producers.

"It's the Chinese who are effectively saying fix these things or we can't talk about developing the sort of trade agreements they enjoy with New Zealand," said Iverson, who believes that the current support for auto manufacturers is an unwise move in the Asian Century.

“I don't quite get the logic of supporting an industry with no competitive advantage or likelihood of being attractive in the longer term to global car buyers.”

The former Treasury secretary Ken Henry is currently researching and writing a white paper on how the country should take advantage of the Asian Century for the federal government. Prime Minister Julia Gillard and others believe that the future presents opportunities for the industry.

"The rise of more middle class consumers in Asia -we will see a greater demand for cutting edge, manufactured products and Australia and Australians can play a role in satisfying that demand," the PM told Radio Australia recently.