Australia's largest grain exporter banned in China

Australia's largest grain exporter banned in China

China's trade spat with Australia has escalated after the country suspended shipments from barley producer CBH, alleging they contained quarantine pests on multiple occasions.

The move comes amidst a souring of relations between the two countries in which China has also increased tariffs on Australian barley, banned exports from several abattoirs and launched dumping investigations into Australian wine even though it normally occupies a premium end of the market.

CBH says it is working with the Australian Government to challenge the suspension.

"The CBH Group has been advised by the Australian Government that CBH Grain Pty Ltd has been suspended from exporting barley to China, effective from 1 September 2020," the company said.

"The Australian Government was notified of this by the General Administration of Customs of the People's Republic of China (GACC) yesterday, Monday 31 August, and CBH was subsequently advised today.

"CBH has not found any evidence to support these claims.  CBH confirms that all grain shipments to China have met all Government phytosanitary export requirements and is therefore very disappointed to hear of the suspension."

Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures are a common tool used by governments to further their trade or diplomatic interests.

An emblematic example was Russia's frequent allegations of pests in Polish apple shipments at the same time Poland was pushing for an EU trade deal with the Ukraine, prior to the Crimean crisis that eventually prompted subsequent sanctions and counter-sanctions that cost European agricultural producers at least 8.6 billion euros annually. 

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