The Australian barley industry has expressed its "deep disappointment" with the news that China will place tariffs of up to 73.6 per cent on Australian barley exports and called on the Federal Government to pursue the issue with the World Trade Organisation.
This follows an anti-dumping investigation initiated by China in November 2018 but many believe the actions have been in retaliation of Australia's call for an independent investigation into the origin of COVID-19.
China has imposed a dumping margin of up to 73.6 per cent and a subsidy margin of up to 6.9pc for all barley imported from Australia, effective from today.
In a joint statement issued late last night, the Grains Industry Market Access Forum, Australian Grain Exporters Council, GrainGrowers, Grain Producers Australia and Grain Trade Australia said the tariffs will disrupt and most likely halt exports by artificially increasing the price of Australian barley imported to China.
It is estimated the move could cost Australia at least $500 million a year with China having been Australia's largest barley export market for several years.
"This imposed duty makes Australian barley less competitive into the Chinese market and has placed significant downward pressure on barley values offered to Australian growers," the joint statement reads.
"China initiated anti-dumping and countervailing subsidy investigations regarding Australian barley exports in November and December 2018.
"The World Trade Organisation (WTO) definition of dumping is when exports are sold at a price lower than the exporting country's domestic market, and/or lower than production costs which results in 'injury' to the importing country's domestic production.
"Australian exporters, industry bodies and government provided extensive submissions to China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) as part of the investigations.
"These submissions included information regarding every aspect of Australia's barley industry, covering farm to consumer, data around export and domestic sales programs, company ownership and operational structures.
"We call on the Australian Government to support Australia's farmers and exporters by engaging deeply with China in a respectful and meaningful way to resolve the issue and to concurrently and immediately pursue the WTO Dispute Settlement process to the fullest extent possible."
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The industry said it fully respected China's right to conduct the investigations and had cooperated fully.
"However, we do not believe the outcomes announced by China has have been adequately substantiated," the joint statement reads.
"Consequently, we are deeply disappointed that China has chosen to apply tariffs against the Australian barley industry.
"The duties will disrupt the Australian barley market, cause ongoing market uncertainty and have a significant impact on participants in the Australian barley industry, including growers and grain exporters.
"We are also concerned the disruption will have an adverse impact on Chinese customers and industries that rely on Australian supply."
More to come.