Chinese probe barley dumping
CHINA’S commerce ministry says it has launched an antidumping investigation into imports of barley from Australia amid strained diplomatic ties between Beijing and Canberra.
Australia is China’s top supplier of the grain.
The move follows an application for a probe by the China Chamber of International Commerce, which says Australian barley was sold at an artificially lower price, squeezing domestic suppliers during the 12 months ending September 30 this year.
Australia is by far China’s top supplier of barley, used widely in brewing as well as for livestock feed.
It exported 6.48 million tonnes in 2017, close to threequarters of China’s roughly 8.86 million tonnes of imports of the grain, worth about $1.5 billion, according to Chinese customs data.
The probe starts on Monday and will end within one year, with an option for an additional six months of investigation.
The move follows a period of tense relations between Australia and China after the previous prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, accused Beijing of interfering in his nation’s domestic affairs.
The two countries have also been vying for influence in sparsely populated Pacific island countries controlling vast swathes of the ocean.
The Chinese commerce chamber’s request for a dumping investigation said the volume of barley imports from Australia had jumped 67 per cent from 2014 to 2017 while prices slipped to tonne, nearly a their 2014 level.
The ministry will also look into whether domestic suppliers’ business was damaged in the period from January 1, 2014 until September 30, 2018.
China’s beer makers are major customers for Australian barley, although the grain is also used as a substitute for corn in livestock feed.
In early reactions, analysts were sceptical on the probe.
“It doesn’t seem very credible that Australia has been dumping barley,” said Phin Ziebell, agribusiness economist at National Australia Bank.
“Who is subsidising the losses? It is a competitive market in which producers want to maximise their returns. I don’t how that is served by dumping barley into China.” $198.05 per third below