Australia hopes China will remove its 80.5 per cent tariffs on barley as an investigation into 2020 decision is announced
Tariffs on Australian barley exports to China could soon be lifted after a deal was reached between the two nations.
Since 2020 – at the height of diplomatic tensions between the two – China has imposed tariffs of 80.5 per cent on Australian barley, effectively blocking exports to that market.
In 2018-19, before they were introduced, Australia’s barley exports to China were estimated to be worth $916 million.
The new agreement, while not guaranteeing the absolute removal of the punitive tariffs, establishes a clear direction towards resolving the dispute.
China will undertake an expedited review of the duties over a three-month period that could extend to a fourth if required. If the duties are not lifted at the conclusion of the review period, Australia will recommence its dispute with the World Trade Organisation – something which the country has suspended during the review period.
“The Australian Government will continue to pursue our national interests through dialogue and the multilateral trading system,” says a statement from the Australian minister for foreign affairs, Penny Wong.
“We will use all opportunities, including the WTO dispute mechanism, to get the best outcomes for Australia’s world-class producers and farmers.”
Already, the statement has been lauded by agricultural industry bodies including the National Farmers Federation, which says the outcome is positive for Australian barley farmers.
“China is an important market for Australian farmers, taking about 60-70 per cent of our barley exports,” NFF chief executive Tony Mahar says.
“The constructive approach the countries have taken to progress this issue is in the longer-term interests of all parties and Australian farmers.
“This agreement highlights the value of the WTO process to encourage mechanisms for bilateral dispute resolution.
“We anticipate this will mean Australian farmers will have access to the Chinese market sooner,” Mahar says.