China has announced the removal of its tariffs on Australian barley imports, which were in effect for three years and had a significant impact on trade amounting to billions of dollars, BBC reports.
Australia's Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, welcomed this decision. As a response to the positive development, Canberra also declared the suspension of its case at the World Trade Organization (WTO) concerning China's duties on barley.
This move marks a sign of improving relations between the two nations. In line with this trend, Australia recently extended an invitation to China's new foreign minister for a visit to the country. China's Ministry of Commerce stated that the dropping of tariffs will commence on Saturday, citing changes in its barley market as the reason for ending the imposition of anti-dumping and countervailing duties on Australian barley imports.
Before the imposition of tariffs, Australia's barley exports to China were valued at around $790.2mn annually. In 2020, China placed tariffs on several key Australian exports, including barley, beef, and wine. Additionally, informal restrictions were imposed on lobster and meat exports from specific abattoirs.
The Australian government is now urging China to lift tariffs on Australian wine, which has also been subject to a separate complaint at the WTO. The wine industry in Australia faced significant challenges when China introduced heavy tariffs, leading to the loss of a once-thriving market.
The relationship between Australia and China faced strain in 2020 when former Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for an international inquiry into the origins of Covid-19. However, since the election of the center-left Labor government in May 2022, communications between the two countries have resumed, and their relationship has shown signs of improvement.