Australia is about to ask the World Commerce Organisation to research punitive Chinese language tariffs on barley imports.
In a major escalation of tensions between the 2 nations, Australian Commerce Minister Simon Birmingham on Wednesday introduced the choice, saying Beijing’s 80-percent surcharge on barley imports from Australia “lack foundation” and “aren’t underpinned by info and proof”.
He added that comparable motion may very well be taken in different sectors.
Australia-China relations are on the lowest ebb for the reason that 1989 Tiananmen Sq. crackdown, with Beijing rolling out a string of financial sanctions towards Australian merchandise. The tariffs and the response to them come towards the backdrop of fierce disputes between Canberra and Beijing which have prompted fears the measures had been additionally politically motivated.
Australia’s barley exports to China had been price round US$1 billion a yr earlier than a current drought, and are used most notably in beer-making.
Specialists say Beijing has mulled proscribing Australian barley imports since 2018 amid worries that China — which produces solely round 20 per cent of the barley it wants — is overly depending on imports.
At the least 13 Australian sectors have been subjected to tariffs or some type of disruption, together with barley, beef, coal, copper, cotton, lobsters, sugar, timber, tourism, universities, wine, wheat and wool.