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Industry calls for recovery fund to buffer China tariff impact

Grain Central, October 6, 2020

Chinese tariffs on Australian barley mean most of the tonnage this year will go to other markets. Photo: Mitchel Hunter, Bruce Rock, WA

THE Australian grains industry is calling on the Federal Government for a $20 million Industry Recovery Fund to soften the impact of China’s tariffs on Australian barley.

Announced in May, the tariffs total 80.5 per cent, and have slowed Australian barley exports to what has been its biggest market in recent years.

In a joint statement, the fund has been called for by: Grains Industry Market Access Forum (GIMAF); Australian Grain Exporters Council (AGEC); GrainGrowers Limited (GGL); Grain Producers Australia (GPA), and Grain Trade Australia (GTA).

The proposed fund would be used to take “urgent action” to accelerate market developments for Australian grains including barley.

The tariffs are expected to cost Australian barley producers around $2.5 billion over the five-year tariff period.

Exports to China have in recent years accounted for 60-70pc of all Australia’s offshore barley sales, and it has been the major market for malting as well as feed barley.

“The situation facing growers is not of their making,” the statement said.

“The proposed fund would be a modest investment given the brunt of the tariff situation will be felt (by) farmers and regional communities.”

“The grains sector calls on government to show its commitment to accelerate market development and capture opportunities for Australian barley and alternate grains, to
diversify, secure new market demand and expand existing markets.”

Australia is already working on developing a malting barley market in India, and a portion of the fund would likely go towards accelerating it, and growing existing barley markets.

It could also be used to develop burgeoning or secondary markets for commodities including canola, pulses and wheat.

The call comes ahead of tonight’s 2020-21 Federal Budget to be released by the Australian Government.

Normally delivered in May, its released was deferred because of COVID-19 and its effect on the economy.

Source: GIMAF, AGEC, GGL, GPA, GTA

 

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