China bans on Australian barley under review in major trade shift

Last month Assistant Trade Minister Tim Ayres travelled to China as Chinese state-run media outlet The Global Times reported that the timber trade had also recently resumed. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews travelled to China at the end of March, and WA Premier Mark McGowan has a visit planned for later in April.

Trade Minister Don Farrell is expected to follow in coming weeks, after holding a virtual meeting with Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao in February.

On Tuesday, Farrell said Australia’s preferred way of resolving the disputes was through dialogue.

“We are hopeful that at the end of that review process, that the impediments that currently exist, will be suspended and removed and that we can get back to normal trade with China,” he said.

“We hope that this will be a template for then moving on to the other areas of dispute.”


Opposition foreign affairs spokesman Simon Birmingham and opposition trade spokesman Kevin Hogan said they were cautiously optimistic about the review, but the tariffs on barley and wine should never have been imposed to begin with.

“Any genuine review should lead to the full removal of the tariffs that China imposed on Australian barley. Australia should be expecting nothing less,” they said in a statement.

“Given our comprehensive agreements made to one another and mature trade relationship, China’s previous refusal to engage in dialogue was always counterproductive.”

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