China imposes massive tariffs on Australia barley imports

Daniel Fowler
May 21, 2020

The Global Times, a Chinese state media electrical outlet, charged Australia of adhering to in the footprints of American hawks by promoting a coronavirus beginnings query.

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

Australia is considering taking China to the World Trade Organization over Beijing's decision to impose massive tariffs on Australian barley imports.

Now the country's exports of wine, seafood, oatmeal, fruit and dairy are in danger of being targeted if China opts for more escalation, according to people familiar with the matter.

"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".

The trade dispute has coincided with Australia's push for an global investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic and responses to it. Beijing has denied they are related.

China had already shifted towards Canadian, French and Ukrainian origins during an 18-month-long probe into Australian barley, and further widened its options by approving Russian and more recently USA barley for import.

Birmingham said that the government would not be putting tariffs on Chinese goods because: "We don't conduct our trade policy on a tit for tat basis".

On Monday, China announced it was imposing 80.5% anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on Australian barley after claiming that barley farming was heavily subsidized by the government.

Australia should be able to export its barley to other markets, as its displacement as a supplier to China will be significant to global trade, said Tobin Gorey, Commonwealth Bank of Australia agricultural commodities strategist.

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"If that fails, then, obviously, we will reserve our right and likely pursue an opportunity to take it to the WTO", he informed Seven's Sunrise program on Wednesday.

Australia has reported just over 7,000 infections, including 100 deaths, and has completed around 1.1 million tests among its population of 25 million.

Beijing published its justification in which it concluded that Australia's Murray Darling Plan - a scheme to improve the well-being of an ecologically vital river system - provided a subsidy for Australian growers.

While Australia and China entered a free trade agreement in late 2015, tensions between the two nations have been simmering for years.

The tariffs are a huge blow to Australia's barley trade with China, which is understood to cover about half of all barley exports.

It's as if the Morrison government seems to resent the fact of Australia's dependence on China's economy, while harboring pretensions of superiority by acting wantonly with no regard for Chinese diplomatic respect.

Australia will be seeking alternative markets for its barley exports after China slapped punitive tariffs on them.

"The third loser was Australia, which has been actively pushing for a so-called independent inquiry into the origins of the crisis in recent days, aimed at China".

Meanwhile, China also blocked Taiwan from attending this week's World Health Assembly (WHA).

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