News National China suspends barley imports from Australian giant after ‘pests’ found
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China suspends barley imports from Australian giant after ‘pests’ found

Barley imports into China from Australian firm CBH Grain PTY Ltd have been suspended after quarantine pests were found, China's customs administration says. Photo: TND
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China customs has suspended barley imports from Australian firm CBH Grain Pty Ltd in the latest trade blow amid ongoing tensions between the two nations.

The decision was made after quarantine pests were found in barley exports from the company multiple times, China’s General Administration of Customs said on Tuesday.

The move came after China levied hefty tariffs on Australian barley cargoes and launched probes into Australian wine imports, amid worsening relations between Beijing and Canberra.

China in May imposed anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties totalling 80.5 per cent on Australian barley imports, effectively halting a billion-dollar trade.

Beijing also retracted CBH’s registration qualification for barley exports to China, according to the government notice.

CBH Grain Pty Ltd, which is based in Western Australia and is the nation’s top grans exporter, confirmed it was notified by the Australian government it had been stopped from exporting barley to China, effective September 1.

The barley cooperative said it was “extremely disappointed” by the decision by China’s General Administration of Customs (GACC).

It was announced on China Customs’ official WeChat account on Tuesday after it said quarantine pests were found in its barley exports multiple times.

“In recent months, CBH was advised by the Australian government that GACC had notified them that several CBH barley cargoes, that had already been discharged in China, did not meet phytosanitary requirements,” the cooperative said in a statement to its 3,900 growers.

“CBH has not found any evidence to support these claims.

“The cargoes were all retested and it was confirmed that all cargoes met Australian government phytosanitary export requirements.

“CBH is therefore extremely disappointed the suspension has been put in place and will continue to work with the Australian government to challenge the suspension.”

CBH said the government was notified of China’s decision on Monday and it was advised on Tuesday.

The move comes after China levied hefty tariffs on Australian barley cargoes and launched probes into Australian wine imports, amid worsening relations between Beijing and Canberra.

China in May imposed anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties totalling 80.5 per cent on Australian barley imports, effectively halting a billion-dollar trade.

China has also retracted CBH’s registration qualification for barley exports to China, according to the GACC notice.

Although Beijing’s move to suspend barley imports from CBH did not essentially affect trade, it shows that the relation between the two countries is not easing, traders in China told Reuters.

“Impact of removing it (CBH) is limited as we couldn’t bring in Australian barley already (due to the tariffs,),” a China-based grains trader said.

“But it is a signal, showing that Australian firms will be in an unfavourable situation. People will be rather cautious when buying Australian goods now,” said the trader, who declined to be named as he was not authorised to talk to the media.

Though Beijing’s move to suspend barley imports from CBH did not essentially affect trade, it shows that the relationship between the two countries is not easing, traders said.

“Impact of removing it (CBH) is limited as we couldn’t bring in Australian barley already (due to the tariffs,)” said a China-based grains trader.

“But it is a signal, showing that Australian firms will be in unfavourable situation. People will be rather cautious when buying Australian goods now,” said the trader, who declined to be named as he was not authorised to talk to the media.

-with AAP

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