Australia, China agrees on resolving Australian barley dispute

According to statement released by Australian government, “The Australian Government has reached agreement with China that creates a pathway towards resolving dispute over Australian barley.”

Since 2020, China’s tariffs of 80.5% on Australian barley have virtually prohibited the country’s exports to that market, which were valued at approximately $916 million in 2018-19.

It has been made quite plain by the Australian government that our viewpoint is that there is no basis for these duties and that it is in the most significant interest of both countries for all trade restrictions to be removed.

We are pleased that, as a result of a recent productive conversation at all levels, China has agreed to carry out an expedited review of the duties over three months, which may be extended to a term of four months if necessary.

In the meantime, Australia has been actively pursuing our national interests in the World Trade Organization (WTO). This dialogue has taken place concurrently with those efforts. Australia will temporarily put the dispute about the WTO on hold for the agreed-upon review period.

Should the duties remain in place after the review period, Australia is prepared to back the matter up with the WTO. The mechanism for resolving trade disputes adopted by the WTO favours bilateral negotiations wherever that option is available.

The government of Australia is going to keep working to protect our national interests by participating in dialogue and the multilateral trading system. We will take advantage of every possibility, including the WTO’s dispute mechanism, to secure the most favourable outcomes for Australia’s world-class farmers and producers.

This includes the development of more options for businesses in Australia to diversify their presence in international markets.

We believe that the Australian wine industry will fare well at the WTO. The agreement reached today can pave the way for removing levies imposed on barley. In that case, a process analogous to this will be followed to eliminate trade obstacles imposed on Australian wine.

The strategy taken by the Albanese government has been to collaborate with China in areas where this is possible, disagree with China in areas where this is necessary, and act by our national interests. This route is consistent with that methodology.

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