China barley tariff threat 'deep concern'

Colin Brinsden - AAPCountryman
Trade Minister Simon Birmingham.
Camera IconTrade Minister Simon Birmingham. Credit: Joel Carrett

Trade Minister Simon Birmingham is “deeply concerned" by reports China may slap a tariff on Australian barley imports.

He said the government is working with the Australian grains industry to mount the strongest possible case against China's anti-dumping investigation.

"Whilst Australia respects China's right, as with any nation, to undertake domestic investigations into anti-dumping matters, we do not accept that there is a prima facie case, let alone a conclusive case, to find dumping by or subsidy of Australian producers," Senator Birmingham said in a statement on Sunday.

"Our barley producers operate in a competitive global market without any trade distorting subsidies and price their products in an entirely commercial way."

The reports come at a time of heightened tensions between Australia and China over the coronavirus pandemic.

The Morrison government has been calling for an inquiry into the origin of COVID-19 for some weeks to better understand how the virus started in Wuhan, China to be able counter such pandemics in the future.

As such Health Minister Greg Hunt says the government supports a European Union motion for an independent investigation.

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