A DECISION by China to impose tariffs upon Australian barley is likely to bring that trade to a halt, exporters say.

The People’s Republic of China has imposed a dumping margin of up to 73.6% and a subsidy margin of up to 6.9% for barley imported from Australia, effective from 19 May 2020. 

China initiated anti-dumping and countervailing subsidy investigations regarding Australian barley exports in November and December 2018, however there are fears the industry has been caught up in a wider geopolitical stoush.

In a joint statement issued by Grains Industry Market Access Forum, Australian Grain Exporters Council, GrainGrowers, Grain Producers Australia and Grain Trade Australia, the industry expressed its “deep disappointment” at the decision.

“These tariffs will disrupt and, most likely halt exports by artificially increasing the price of Australian barley imported to China until the situation is resolved,” the statement read.

“It is estimated this dispute could cost Australian grain industry and notably rural and regional economies at least $A500 million per annum.”

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China has been Australia’s largest barley export market for several years and Australia is the largest supplier of barley to China.

In 2018-18, Australia exported almost 2.6m tonnes of barley to China, according to ABARES, by far our largest market (the next largest was Japan with 746,000 tonnes).

This imposed duty makes Australian barley less competitive into the Chinese market. 

According to the industry statement, Australian exporters, industry bodies and government provided extensive submissions to China’s Ministry of Commerce as part of anti-dumping investigations.

China has imposed tough measures on Australian barley exports.

“The organisations making this statement… fully respect China’s right to conduct these investigations and have cooperated fully,” the statement read.

“However, we do not believe the outcomes announced by China has have been adequately substantiated. Consequently, we are deeply disappointed that China has chosen to apply tariffs against the Australian barley industry.”

With Australia priced out of the market, it is expected barley growers from Canada and the European Union will be the winners.

According to industry, the duties are expected to “disrupt the Australian barley market, cause ongoing market uncertainty and have a significant impact on participants in the Australian barley industry, including growers and grain exporters”.

“We are also concerned the disruption will have an adverse impact on Chinese customers and industries that rely on Australian supply,” the statement read.

“We call on the Australian Government to support Australia’s farmers and exporters by engaging deeply with China in a respectful and meaningful way to resolve the issue and to concurrently and immediately pursue the WTO Dispute Settlement process to the fullest extent possible.”

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