Chinese levy on Australian barley, latest chapter in the countries’ Shadow Trade war

Sydney, May 28, 2021: Australia on Friday pushed forward with a World Trade Organization case against Chinese levies on grain imports, as strains between the two nations gave little indication of abating.

Trade Minister Dan Tehan said Canberra would request that the WTO set up a dispute settlement panel to take a look at the case, the subsequent stage in a bid to get the taxes declared illegal. Tehan said Beijing’s choice to slap a 80 percent charge on imports of the grain from Australia had “effectively halted Australia’s grain exchange with China.”

Australia’s grain fares to China had been worth around US$1 billion per year, utilized mostly in brewing and in fermenting. China contends that Australian farmers produce the grain with government subsidies and sell it below cost, harming domestic makers. Tehan said “Australia stays open to further discussion with China with the end goal of settling this issue” yet China has suspended regular economic dialogue, with high level meetings on hold.

It is just one in a long list of politically-tinged trade disputes between the two nations in what has been named a “shadow trade war.” Beijing has rolled out multiple sanctions against many Australian items, as diplomatic relations with Canberra have arrived at their lowest ebb since the destructive 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.

Many in Canberra believe the sanctions are punishment for Australia standing up against Beijing influence operations in the country, rejecting Chinese investment in sensitive areas regions and publicly calling for an investigation concerning the starting points of Covid.

At least 13 Australian sectors have been exposed to Chinese taxes or some type of disruption, including beef, coal, copper, cotton, lobsters, sugar, wood, the travel industry, universities, wine, wheat and wool. So far the rundown has not stretched out to iron ore exports that are imperative to Australia’s economy.

Chinese authorities have cautioned local customers to track non-Australian finds of the metal, yet limited supplies and higher demands have so far made that impossible to achieve.

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