Barley tariff costs China billions as minister urges open talks

Barley tariff costs China billions as minister urges open talks

Politics
NO SIGNAL: Trade Minister Simon Birmingham is still yet to hear from his Chinese counterpart about its barley tariff decision. Photo: Elesa Kurtz

NO SIGNAL: Trade Minister Simon Birmingham is still yet to hear from his Chinese counterpart about its barley tariff decision. Photo: Elesa Kurtz

Aa

The Trade Minister is still yet to hear from his Chinese counterpart,

Aa

CHINA'S tariff on Australian barley could cost the Asian superpower billions of dollars, the Trade Minister said, as he revealed he's still yet to hear from his Chinese counterpart.

All Aussie barley going into China will be hit with an 80 per cent tariff, after an 18-month Chinese investigation found Australia "dumped" the crop into the country - a fact the Commonwealth government disputes.

Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said it was "frustrating" and "disappointing" that his Chinese counterpart had not responded to his calls, and urged for open lines of communication.

"The best way to resolve and to work through differences is through dialogue," Mr Birmingham said.

"Australia is ready and willing to have that mature, sensible dialogue that grownups have, even when you have differences of opinion.

"That doesn't mean that we're going to change our values or to compromise on our policies."

Mr Birmingham said the tariff came at a significant cost to both countries.

"Australia's agricultural commodity forecaster ABARES has estimated the loss to Australia from China's decision is $330 million dollars, but the loss to China is in the order of potentially $3.6 billion," he said.

"That's because we produce some of the best malting barley in the world.

"We know that China's brewing industry appreciates the qualitative superiority of our malting barley."

China believes Australian farmers have been subsidised by the government, through the Farm Household Allowance scheme and water efficient initiatives in the Murray-Darling Basin, which allowed them dump barley (or sell at a very cheap rate) into the Chinese market.

The Australian government maintains there is no basis to apply anti-dumping tariffs, but Mr Birmingham reiterated the quickest way to work through the issue was a proper dialogue.

"To deal with differences, though, you do need to talk," he said.

"Like it or not, we share the same dynamic region of the world, the geography isn't going to change. We're going to be sharing this region together forever.

"We want to make sure that so far as it can be viewed as a positive relationship for the benefit of not just our two nations, but for all of the nations in this region."

Aa

From the front page

Sponsored by