AGRICULTURE minister David Littleproud says the Department is seeking alternative markets for barley on six bulk ships currently bound for China.

As reported by Daily Cargo News, China has imposed an %80 tariff on Australian barley, citing concerns over dumping, largely making the trade uneconomic for Australian growers.

However, some six ships are already on their way, having departed before the tariffs were announced.

Mr Littleproud said he understood the tariff would be imposed on the cargo in those ships.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud. Credit: Office of David Littleproud

“We’re trying to get final confirmation of that and my department, in fact, I asked that question yesterday to my department to give me the final clarification on that,” he said.

“It’s very important we get an understanding of that as quickly as we can. But in those ships that are going, we’re also looking at other possibilities of sending them into other markets.

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“And my department is working with other foreign countries around accepting those shipments to ensure that those exporters are protected because you’ve got to understand it’s not the farmers – the farmers are being paid, it’s actually the exporter that we’re trying to protect here.”

Answering questions from the media, Mr Littleproud denied suggestions the scrapping of the proposed biosecurity levy would require biosecurity services to “have to go cap in hand” to the government for money.

“Well, it doesn’t go cap in hand. In fact, we’ve got a strong record. $66.m was just invested into African swine fever,” Mr Littleproud said.

“We’ve actually moved in an agile way whenever there are biosecurity risks to this country, and we’ll continue to do that. But what we’re saying is we are in unprecedented times economically.

“We need to provide a stimulus to the industries that will get us out of COVID-19. “This is about a stimulus of saying to those industries that will drive our nation’s economy further and get us out of this hole into the future that we are going to back you but we will not take our foot off biosecurity.”

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