Chi­nese probe barley dump­ing

Tasmanian Country - - TRADES & SERVICES -

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

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