Major farming groups say yesterday's announcement that Australian barley exports could resume to China sooner than previously hoped is a major win for both Chinese consumers and local grain growers and exporters.
Federal Trade Minister Don Farrell and Foreign Minister Penny Wong yesterday announced a new process involving both countries, which could lead to the important market re-opening within months.
In May 2020, tariffs were placed on Australian barley exports to China and a dispute process has been underway with the World Trade Organisation.
National Farmers Federation chief executive Tony Mahar said China was an important market for Australian farmers, taking about 60-70 per cent of barley exports.
"The constructive approach the countries have taken to progress this issue is in the longer-term interests of all parties and Australian farmers," he said.
"This agreement highlights the value of the WTO process to encourage mechanisms for bilateral dispute resolution."
Grain Producers Australia Chair Barry Large said that while other exports markets had purchased Australian barley over the past two years, and trade for other important Australian grains such as wheat have continued with China, growers would welcome the return of the China market.
"We welcome this new process and look forward to a positive outcome," he said.
"Barley is an important rotation crop for Australian growers and any optimism on the future outlook is good.
"This process to reach a resolution would be significantly shorter than if the WTO process continued.
"We welcome the Labor Government's constructive dialogue and positive progress towards stabilising the relationship with China, and creating this process and opportunity to recommence the barley trade."
Mr Mahar also said it was hoped the development in the barley trade would be reflected in other sectors.
"We also hope this development is another step forward in recalibrating our relationship with China and will mean progress will also advance on removing trade barriers for rock lobster and wine," he said.