China has officially scrapped more than 80% of punitive tariffs on Australian barley that it has imposed since May 2020, raising hope that wine could be next as relations improve between the two countries.
China’s Ministry of Commerce announced the decision to nullify anti-dumping and anti-subsidy on Australian barley effective from August 5, after deciding it was “no longer necesary” to continue to impose the tariffs “in view of the changes in the market situation of barley in China”.
The levies were slapped three years ago in the height of diplomatic tensions between the two countries over a range of disputes from Covid origin to 5G technoglogy, and have cost Australian barley industry AU$ 1 billion a year.
The lifting comes after Australia suspensed a WTO complaint against China over the grain in exchange for China’s reviewing of its punitive tariffs. The successful removal now serves as a template to resolve other trade disputes including wine.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese welcomed the breakthrough ahead of his much-anticipated state visit to Beijing before the end of this year. With now barley ban lifted, Australian government expects the same for wine.
“I’ve consistently said, including in my warm meetings with the Chinese commerce minister, Wang Wentao, that we would prefer to resolve all of our disputes with China through discussion and dialogue, rather than disputation.”
At the moment, Australia has not suspended a WTO complaint on wine, which it had filed in June 2020 after China officially slapped over 218% tariffs on Australian wine over anti-dumping and anti-subsidy allegations.
The punitive tariffs has cost Australian wine industry about AU$1.2 billion a year.