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Barley Blow to Australian Farmers After China Slap

Rebecca Jones

(Bloomberg) --

China’s imposed anti-dumping duties on Australian barley could wipe more than half a billion dollars in value off the industry, according to a farmers group, as the levy is condemned by the government.

“Australia doesn’t believe that the decision China’s made is justified or defensible in accordance with anti-dumping practices,” Trade Minister Simon Birmingham told ABC Radio Tuesday.

Birmingham said he would consider the best pathway forward and whether this takes the shape of an appeal to the World Trade Organization -- an action urged by Tony Mahar, National Farmers’ Federation chief executive officer.

“It is a significant and devastating hit to the Australian agriculture industry,” Mahar told ABC News.

China, which is the biggest buyer of Australia’s barley, will slap an anti-dumping duty of 73.6% and an anti-subsidy duty of 6.9% on the commodity, according to a statement from the Ministry of Commerce. The announcement made late Monday comes as tensions between the two countries simmer, with Australia calling for a probe into the origins of the coronavirus in recent weeks.

“We will probably be losing well over half a billion dollars at least in value. The trade between the two countries at its peak has been around A$2 billion. It’s a major loss to the economy, it’s a major loss to rural communities, ” Andrew Weidemann, Grain Producers Australia chairman told Sky News.

“It is within their power to remove these duties at any time during the five-year timeframe and we would hope they do decide to do that,” Birmingham said.

(Correct’s Andrew Weidemann’s name in 6th paragraph)

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