There’s a light on the hill for the end of punitive import tariffs on Australian barley imposed by China, with hopes Beijing will remove the impediments in the coming months.
Beijing agreed to expedite a review into its barley tariffs after receiving a World Trade Organisation report kickstarted by Australia’s complaint.
The barley review is due in July but could be extended until August.
Canberra believes there are positive signs of movement.
Australia’s WTO complaint into excessive duties on wine imports by China is expected in June, with both parties to receive the report three weeks before it is made public.
The same process with the barley report led to an agreement between Beijing and Canberra last month to pause the complaint and stop it from being made public in exchange for China expediting its assessment of the tariffs.
The Albanese government has the option to resume WTO proceedings if there is no movement on the trade restrictions, with ministers believing the organisation would have ruled in Australia’s favour.
“The expectation is that as a result of that review, tariffs will be removed on barley,” Trade Minister Don Farrell said.
“That’s well down the track. All of the information I got from the ambassador and our officials in Beijing was very, very positive.
“We believe that the process with barley should be the process that we use to resolve the issue in respect of wine.”
Grain Producers Australia welcomed the trade minister’s words and ongoing efforts to remove barriers after his recent return from Beijing.
“Australian grain producers remain hopeful of a positive decision being made in the near future, to ensure that our high quality barley can be sold and exported into the Chinese market again,” the organisation told AAP.
“This would also be a win not only for Australian barley producers and exporters but also consumers and industry in China.”
(Australian Associated Press)