China says it will impose tariffs of 80.5 per cent on barley imports from Australiia from May 19, the country’s commerce ministry has announced.
China has announced anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties totalling 80.5 per cent on Australian barley imports, which is expected to all but halt a billion-dollar trade between them.
China's Ministry of Commerce announced the tariffs late on Monday after completing a 16-month investigation into an anti-dumping complaint.
"The investigating authority has ruled that there was dumping of imported barley from Australia and the domestic industry suffered substantial damage," a statement on the ministry's website said.
The tariffs on barley, which begin on Tuesday and will remain in place for five years, are the latest agricultural commodity to be affected by a deteriorating relationship between Canberra and Beijing.
READ MORE: Australian farmers concerned about China trade tension amid inquiry into coronavirus pandemic
The Chinese ministry said on Monday that duties of 73.6 per cent would be levied on all companies, including four named exporters, The Iluka Trust, Kalgan Nominees Pty Ltd, JW&JI Mcdonald & Sons and Haycroft Enterprises, as well as an anti-subsidy duty of 6.9 per cent.
Australia is the biggest barley supplier to China, exporting about $A1.5 billion to $A2 billion ($US980 million to $US1.3 billion) worth a year, which is more than half its exports.
Barley is used both for brewing and animal feed.
"There aren't many alternative markets. It could be sold to Saudi Arabia, but it will be heavily discounted to what Australian farmers could have received by selling to China," an Australian government source told Reuters.
By contrast, China – the world's top barley importer – will simply shift purchasing to other key producers, including France, Canada, Argentina and some smaller European exporters.
"Australia is deeply disappointed with China's decision to impose duties on Australian barley," Australia's Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said in a statement.
"We reject the basis of this decision and will be assessing the details of the findings while we consider the next steps," he said in a statement.
READ MORE: Trade Minister Simon Birmingham 'deeply concerned' by China barley levy
"We reserve all rights to appeal this matter further and are confident that Australian farmers are among the most productive in the world, who operate without government subsidy of prices."
The relationship with Beijing soured in 2018 when Australia banned Huawei from its nascent 5G broadband network, while tensions were escalated by concerns within Canberra over China's attempts to secure greater influence in the Pacific.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia's director of agricultural strategy Tobin Gorey said the issue is part of a "broader juggle that Australia makes between its political place in the west and economic place in the east".
China has been angered in recent weeks by Australia's call for an independent inquiry into the origins of coronavirus.
READ MORE: Australia's push for coronavirus inquiry receives global support
Last month, Beijing's ambassador to Australia said Chinese consumers could boycott Australian beef, wine, tourism and universities in response to Canberra's demand.
Days later, Beijing suspended imports from four of Australia's largest meat processors, worth about 20 per cent of Canberra's beef exports to China.
Aside from the tensions over coronavirus, Mr Birmingham admitted that China had long-standing grievances over Australian tariffs on its steel.
"We have had representations in the past from China in relation to our anti-dumping system,'' he told the Australian Financial Review.
"Anti-dumping disputes shouldn't be resolved by scorecard though. They should be resolved on the merits of each individual argument."
– Reported with AAP
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Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/china-imposes-80-per-cent-barley-tariffs-on-australia/7177f1d0-d758-419b-a7a8-aa6d02b64993