China targets Australian goods after call for coronavirus probe

China targets Australian goods after call for coronavirus probe

A joint statement was released by several major Australian grain groups on Sunday, highlighting concerns that China is "potentially proposing to place tariffs on barley imported from Australia as a result of their ongoing anti-dumping and countervailing duties investigation".

It's not the first time Australian beef processors have been blocked by China.

Australian Meat Industry Council chief executive Patrick Hutchinson said the companies made up approximately 20 percent of Australian beef exports to China. China takes more than half of Australia's barley exports.

Government sources told Australia's national broadcaster the ABC that the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) threat of tariffs is likely in retaliation for Australia's push for an independent investigation into the origins of the CCP virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus.

Beef exports to China bring Australia some $1.7 billion Australian dollars ($1.1 billion; €1 billion) each year.

The Dinmore beef processing facility, near Ipswich, is the biggest beef processing plant in the southern hemisphere, according to its website.

Mr Birmingham told a news conference in Canberra that the government hopes in the coming days to establish "that Australian farmers and barley producers do not receive undue subsidies and do not dump their product on foreign markets".

China's customs agency "continuously" found examples of the Australian companies violating inspection and quarantine requirements and suspended the imports to "ensure the safety and health of Chinese consumers".

'In the last six months we know there's been shipments and there's been indications of further business required, so this decision came unexpectedly given we felt we had answered all of the questions as an industry back to China.

Australia was China's third largest beef supplier in 2019, after Brazil and Argentina.

"Obviously (Dutton) must have also received some instructions from Washington requiring him to cooperate with the U.S.in its propaganda war against China. There are no products (from Australia) that can not be replaced".

China is now targeting Australia's economy as relations between the two countries sours amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"There's too much beef around and prices are weak", said the importer.

China has committed to increase its purchases of United States agriculture including beef under a phase one trade agreement with the administration of President Donald Trump.

"They are using an old trick to try and blame China".

"Maybe also the ordinary people will say why should we drink Australian wine?"

Barley exports to China plummeted from $1.5billion in 2018 to just $600million the following year.

"The Western Australian Government has always maintained good relationships with China as our major trading partner, and we will be making direct contact with the Chinese Consul General on the matter".

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