Barley tax threat rattles Oz

Business | Bloomberg 11 May 2020

Australia is "deeply concerned" by reports that duties may be levied on its barley exports into China, Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said.

"Our barley producers operate in a competitive global market without any trade-distorting subsidies and price their products in an entirely commercial way," Birmingham said in a statement yesterday, calling any imposition of duties "unjustified."

Australian barley exports to China were worth A$1.4 billion (HK$7.06 billion) in 2017. The two nations entered a free-trade agreement in December 2015.

Australia has stoked tensions with China in recent weeks by calling for an independent probe into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, worrying businesses in the most China-dependent developed economy. Beijing has pushed back, labeling calls for the probe "politically motivated" and warning of a potential consumer boycott of Australian products.

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