AUSTRALIA- Australia has shipped the first barley cargo to China since tariffs imposed in 2020 were lifted earlier this month, according to the country’s minister for agriculture.

China ended anti-dumping tariffs on Australian barley earlier this month, roughly three years after the 80.5% duties first dented exports once worth up to US$967 million annually and led Canberra to file a case at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

It’s terrific to have heard that overnight the first shipment has been dispatched from Kwinana and it is gradually working its way towards China,” Minister for Agriculture Murray Watt said at a news conference on Tuesday.

The chief of grain exporter CBH Group said the shipment was roughly 55,000 tons of Maximus barley, a malt variety.

China dropped the tariffs after the Australian government agreed to suspend its World Trade Organisation dispute. 

The dispute between the two countries began in May 2020 when Australia called for an independent investigation into the origins of and the Chinese government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which originated in Wuhan, China, in late 2019, spread worldwide, and wrecked the global economy.

China imposed the punitive tariffs and Australia responded by complaining to the World Trade Organization, alleging China had breached international obligations by unjustifiably jacking up tariffs artificially.

Since the lifting of these restrictions, Australian barley traders hope to export as much barley as they did to China before the institution of the tariffs. 

However, Trade Minister Don Farrell remarked that there was still more work to do on dropping barriers against Australian wine, lobster, and beef exports to China. 

According to the Australian Grape & Wine Organization, China’s tariffs on Australian wine are up to 218.4%, and the Australian government hopes that the agreement with China concerning barley will inform the lifting of these tariffs on wine. 

It’ll take a bit of perseverance, it’ll take a bit of persistence and it’ll take a little bit of time. But I’m confident that the good working relationship that we’ve now achieved with the Chinese government will, in a short space of time, result in all of those restrictions being removed,” Farrel said.

For all the latest grains industry news from Africa, the Middle East and the World, subscribe to our weekly NEWSLETTERS, follow us on LinkedIn and subscribe to our YouTube channel