A shortfall of 500 million australian dollars : the decision of Beijing to apply customs duties punitive damages on the barley australia has plunged the grain of the country into uncertainty and, with them, the whole of the farmers.
In the joust diplomatic between Canberra and Beijing, australian farmers are in the front line. China has decided on 18 may apply to customs duties of 80.5 % on the barley australia, depriving the grain of the country of the market, the most important for them.
The news has “shocked” Tim O Meehan, a producer in Western Australia.
“I had already planted half of my field of barley when this new tax was announced. So, I stopped everything net and then I sowed the wheat on the rest of my land “, explained to AFP this farmer, the third generation farmer of the family, who estimates that ” 70 to 80% of its production is destined for China “.
But he remains optimistic about the opportunity to sell his crop to other countries. While admitting that “there will inevitably be a loss of income: the price of a ton of barley was $ 270 australian dollars, it dropped to 219 after the announcement of the Chinese and now it is around 240 dollars. It’s going to be difficult”.
This new tax, the China is justified by accusations of dumping for the barley in australia. An investigation was in progress for almost eighteen months and a sanction to be expected. But, as pointed out by Brad Jones, at the head of a massive operation grain of 11,000 hectares, “it was not expected that the amount of the tax is so high”.
Australia, for its part, threatened to enter the world trade Organization.
And even if the two countries support that there is behind this case is nothing else than a simple business dispute, it is difficult not to note that the announcement of this measure by Beijing came only a few days after the world health Assembly, 17 may.
During the latter, under the leadership of Australia and the european Union, more than 130 States have signed a motion calling for the opening of an investigation on the origins of the pandemic of sars coronavirus. Investigation in which the China was very strongly opposed.
What’s more, on April 26, Cheng Jingye, China’s ambassador in Canberra, had very clearly suggested that economic retaliatory measures could be taken if Australia is entêtait called for an investigation.
In addition to the barley, China has also announced a few days earlier its decision to suspend the import of meat of beef after four of the largest slaughterhouses in australia, which produce them only one-third of the beef in the country.
China is by far the first client from Australia for this commodity, yet the news was not particularly destabilized AaCo, the first australian producer.
In a press release issued this week, the company reminds that “China represents 15% of all of our meat sales. For the moment, more than a third of our exports to China are not affected by the suspension. Our global presence also allows us to redirect our products to other markets”.
But other products australians could also be affected.
According to the agency Bloomberg, the chinese authorities plan to enforce restrictions, customs duties or new standards for dairy products, to wines or with seafood. The first customer in the international in these three cases also China.
“We will always protect the national interests of Australia,” said Marise Payne, the minister of foreign Affairs.
China is far and away the largest trading partner of Australia, with which it provides more than 25% of its trade for an amount of 136 billion euros in 2018/2019.
A sum equivalent to the combined amount of the trade of Australia with Japan, South Korea, the United States and Singapore, the four other major economic partners.