China imposes crippling tariff on Australian barley

Daniel Fowler
May 20, 2020

"Australia is deeply disappointed with China's decision to impose duties on Australian barley", he said in a statement.

"Australia notes recent comments from Chinese spokespeople emphasising the mutual benefits that flow from our trading relationship".

Australia's relations with China have come under further strain after Beijing slapped an 80 per cent tariff on barley imports and banned beef imports from four abattoirs.

"We're always conscious of any disruptions to trade in an export dominated industry like agriculture where we export two thirds of what we produce, and a third of that goes to China", he said.

"Australia will continue to be a consistent and constructive voice in the worldwide community to advance and protect our national interest and the global interest".

"By following the steps of some U.S. hawks who harshly attack China over coronavirus, 'it seems that Australia, this giant kangaroo that serves as a dog of the United States, will hit a deadlock with China on trade disputes in sectors like coal and beef".

"The draft resolution on COVID-19 to be adopted by the World Health Assembly is totally different from Australia's proposal of an independent global review", an embassy statement said.

The World Health Organization bowed to calls Monday from most of its member states to launch an independent probe into how it managed the global response to the virus, which was first found in China late previous year.

Health Minister Greg Hunt hailed the global agreement as a major breakthrough.

Beijing's ambassador in Canberra has also raised the prospect of consumer boycotts over the coronavirus inquiry.

"So I am both confident and hopeful that, going forward, this resolution will represent a transformative moment in worldwide disease detection and discovery, going forward".

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In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs said today the Australian Government was concerned that malicious cyber actors are seeking to exploit the pandemic for their own gain. But in the same breath he accused China of playing cheap politics over the issue.

"To claim the WHA's resolution a vindication of Australia's call is nothing but a joke", the spokesman added.

"We should be damn proud Australia is now leading the world".

The comprehensive evaluation, sought by a coalition of African, European and other countries including Australia, is meant to review "lessons learned" from WHO's coordination of the global response to COVID-19, but would stop short of looking into contentious issues such as the origins of the respiratory virus.

A second Australian government official said a WTO appeal would take at least two years, and risked escalating trade tensions with China just as Australia is facing its first recession in three decades because of the impact of Covid-19.

"As China's brewers are forced to bid harder for other sources of barley, Australian barley will find a home with those out bid by China", he said.

China eventually supported the European Union motion after weeks of anger towards Australia over its push for an inquiry.

Senator Payne last month warned that the World Health Organisation leading the investigation would be "a bit poacher and gamekeeper".

But she is now comfortable with the organisation's independent oversight advisory committee conducting the inquiry. "They are not, if you like part, of the World Health Organization structure".

He said: "China, along with other countries, took an active part in these consultations and agreed on the unifying of the text".

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