19 May 2020 - China announces tariffs on Australian barley

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19 May 2020

Joint Statement from Grain Producers Australia, Grains Industry Market Access Forum, Australian Grain Exporters Council, GrainGrowers and Grain Trade Australia. 

Australia’s barley industry responds to China’s tariff measures

The Australian barley industry has expressed its deep disappointment with the announcement by the People’s Republic of China to place punitive tariffs on Australian barley exports to China.  This follows an anti-dumping and countervailing subsidy investigations initiated by China in November 2018.

The People’s Republic of China has imposed a dumping margin of up to 73.6% and a subsidy margin of up to 6.9% for all barley imported from Australia on all barley imported from Australia, effective from 19th May 2020, in response to its investigations.

These tariffs will disrupt and ,most likely halt exports by artificially increasing the price of Australian barley imported to China until the situation is resolved. It is estimated this dispute could cost Australian grain industry and notably rural and regional economies at least $A500 million per annum.

For a number of years China has been Australia’s largest barley export market and Australia is the largest supplier of barley to China. 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.

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.

The organisations making this statement and their members; the Grains Industry Market Access Forum, Australian Grain Exporters Council, GrainGrowers, Grain Producers Australia and Grain Trade Australia fully respect China’s right to conduct these investigations and have cooperated fully. However, we do not believe the outcomes announced by China has have been adequately substantiated.  We are confident that the information provided by Australian grain industry and Government evidenced that:

The claim of dumping, causing injury to China’s domestic barley industry was unsubstantiated;  
The Australian grain industry operates in an open, commercial and competitive global market;
The notion of dumping is not consistent with the commercial realities of the Australian grain industry, where export sales are made at values above the purchase price offered to growers, which is in turn above their cost of production; and
Australian farmers do not receive countervailing subsidies as claimed. 

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.

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.

The Australian barley industry’s relationship with China began in the 1960s. We very much hope a timely and amical resolution can be agreed including the removal of duties to enable trade to be reestablished, for the benefit of industries in both countries. 


About GIMAF: Grains Industry Market Access Forum (GIMAF) represents the whole supply chain in the task of identifying, prioritising and actively responding to market access issues that impact the Australian grains, fodder and seeds industries. GIMAF works closely with the Australian Government and its agencies to develop responses to market access issues that impact current trade arrangements and strategic plans to develop new market access opportunities for the Australian grains industry.

About AGEC: The Australian Grain Exporters Council (AGEC) is a Council of Grain Trade Australia (GTA). It is formed of GTA members with significant involvement in the export market. It monitors local and international grain environments and policies and develops appropriate responses for the Australian grain industry where required.

About GrainGrowers: GrainGrowers is an independent and technically resourced, grain farmer representative organisation with 17,000 members across Australia. GrainGrowers’ goal is a more efficient, sustainable and profitable grain production sector that benefits all Australia grain farmers and the wider grains industry. GrainGrowers has three divisions which work to achieve improved grain industry outcomes: (1) Capability Building; (2) Industry Engagement; and (3) Policy and Innovation.

About Grain Producers Australia: Grain Producers Australia (GPA) represents Australia's broadacre, grain, pulse and oilseed producers at the national level. GPA works in partnership with its Policy Council – comprised of Agforce Grains, Grain Producers SA, NSW Farmers Association, Victorian Farmers’ Federation Grains
Group, Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association, WA Farmers, WA Grains Group – to foster a strong, innovative, profitable, globally competitive and environmentally sustainable Australian grains industry.

About GTA: Grain Trade Australia (GTA) is the focal point for the commercial grains industry within Australia. GTA members are responsible for over 95% of all grain storage and freight movements made each year in Australia. Over 95% of the grain contracts executed in Australia each year refer to GTA grain standards and/or trade rules.

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