Monday 19th Nov, 2018

China blocks Aussie grain shipments, reports analyst

Photo: David Sexton
Photo: David Sexton

CHINA has blocked some Australian grain shipments following the implementation of new import standards.

Trade and agriculture researcher on China, Erlend Ek, told the Australian Grains Industry Conference in Melbourne that standards were becoming extremely important for Asia’s largest nation.

“They (China) have just revised almost 6000 national standards in food.

“The ergot (a disease that attacks rye and other cereals) standard was released on June 23 and on the fourth of July there were reports Australian shipments were being stopped because of this new standard,” Mr Ek said.

“Maybe it was not fair – I’m not sure what happened in that case – but you don’t want to run into these issues.”

Mr Ek said China was pushing towards quality and wanted to be seen as a quality food provider for its own people and for the world.

He described how China wanted to import but also wanted to keep imports at moderate levels, with their attitude being “we can’t just open the gate, we need to do this step by step and carefully”.

But it was clear China would “need to import and import more in the future”.

He also noted the Chinese government saw imports as a means of controlling inflation in China.

“They don’t really care too much about the value, they look at quota, and ‘this is how much we need to be safe,” Mr Ek said.

“If the domestic price is going up then they will look for more imports and so on.

“They are trying to plan this but it is not easy.”

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