For the first time in its 20-year history, the powerful China Wool Industrial Association (CWIA) has met outside China, at the historical Lal Lal Estate near Ballarat, which is located approximately 105 kilometres west-north-west of the state capital, Melbourne.

More than 130 delegates representing China's 80 major wool processors were welcomed at the Estate in a show of strength for increasing demand for Australian – in particular Victorian – fine merino wool and the ability of our producers to supply the finest in quality.

Australia has a A$3 billion export wool industry, with 80 per cent exported to China for manufacturing and local use, and continues to be the largest global producer of fine apparel. The Victorian Government is working closely with wool growers to ensure they have the tools and connections they need to trade with China – the world's largest market.

Victoria's Minister for Innovation, Small Business and Trade believes China is an "ideal market to expand Victoria's wool exports as it has the world's largest population, booming middle class and an increasing demand for premium goods."

Victoria is leading the charge with the introduction of electronic tagging of sheep and goats, marking another critical step towards strengthening Victoria's reputation as the best source of quality wool for Chinese manufacturers.

Electronic tagging improves traceability, helps to sustain Victoria's world leading biosecurity system, and gives consumers world-wide trust in our sheepmeat and wool industries.

Lal Lal Estate is owned by Mr. Qingnan Wen, President of Tianyu Wool in China, and runs approximately 12,000 merinos, producing high-quality fine wool and prime lambs. China is Victoria's most important and largest economic trading partner, and the Minister said meeting on "Victorian soil will help grow and strengthen the China-Victoria wool relationship".