Barley exports to China still a small fraction of pre-ban total

Barley exports, once worth almost a billion dollars per year, continue to lag.

Barley exports, once worth almost a billion dollars per year, continue to lag. Image: TND

China has imported 314,000 tonnes of Australian barley worth $139 million since tariffs were lifted in August — just one-sixth of the quantity before a three-year ban was imposed.

Australian barley exports to China were worth $916 million in 2018/19 before import tariffs effectively blocked trade in May 2020.

Trade Minister Don Farrell said the latest data showed Australia’s trade relationship with China was on a positive trajectory.

“The removal of duties on Australian barley by China in August was a much-needed shot in the arm for Australian farmers,” he said in a statement on Saturday.

“I look forward to the removal of import duties on Australian wine following the completion of a review by China.”

It’s the first time in more than three years that China’s customs agency has released official data.

Surf and turf next?

Mr Farrell said he was continuing to press for Australian live lobsters and red meat to be reintroduced to China.

The latest trade data comes after Prime Minister Anthony Albanese met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Qiang in an historic three-day visit last month.

Agriculture Minister Murray Watt is considering his own trip to China in the new year as the government works to remove remaining trade barriers.

“Better outcomes for farmers mean stronger regional communities and that is good thing for our country,” Mr Watt said.

“Agricultural trade between countries not only benefits Australians, but also provides China’s large population with high-quality produce, which now includes barley.”


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