Tariffs a significant blow for SA growers

Grain Producers SA has echoed the widespread sentiment of disappointment with the decision of the Chinese Government to impose a dumping margin of 73.6 per cent and subsidy margin of up to 6.9 per cent on all barley imported from Australia for five years.

South Australian growers export approximately 1.5 million tonnes of barley each year worth about $300 million, with China the single biggest market – making up more than half of the state’s barley exports.

These tariffs, effective as of today, will be a significant blow to the industry after an otherwise positive start to the 2020 growing season, with good opening rains across SA.

GPSA CEO Caroline Rhodes said the South Australian grain industry has a deep and longstanding relationship with its Chinese customers thanks to the high-quality malting grade barley it produced.

“Our growers – particularly those on the Yorke Peninsula and Eyre Peninsula – produce some of the highest-quality barley in the world and for that reason we are keen to see our strong trading relationship with Chinese maltsters and brewers continue,” she said.

“Australian farmers are among the least subsidised in the world and compete fairly in the world market.

“Barley production in South Australia is entirely rain-fed and we have built an enviable reputation for supplying quality and safe food. We are proud of our local industry.

“The disruption to Australia’s barley trade with China will negatively impact other commodities, and growers will need to carefully manage price risk in the coming months in a volatile market.

“That’s why GPSA will continue to support peak bodies Grain Producers Australia and GrainGrowers in their discussions with the Australian Government to try and achieve a timely resolution to this issue. We value our trading partnership with China.”

The tariffs, which are in response to the investigations initiated by China in November 2018, will likely cost the Australian grain industry $500 million on this season’s crop, with early estimates of a 12 million tonne production.

GPA Chair and Victorian grower Andrew Weidemann said he was disappointed tariffs from Australia’s biggest barley customer had now been applied after 18 months of trying to avoid this outcome.

Ms Rhodes said the issue highlighted the importance of market diversification and the importance of the South Australian Grain Industry Blueprint in achieving this.

“Now more than ever the industry needs to be investing in long-term strategies such as the Blueprint,” she said.

“The Market Opportunities and Adding Value pillars of the Blueprint will contribute to the vision for more diverse markets of South Australian grain, including barley.”


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