China announces 80% tariffs on Australian barley – the new trade war?

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That escalated quickly! In addition to banning imports of Australian beef, the Chinese government announced on Monday, May 18th, 2020 an 80% tariff on Australian barley exports starting today.

The tariffs are likely in response to Australia’s government demanding an inquiry into the cause of the corona virus. The Chinese President Xi Jinping has claimed China acted “with openness and transparency” in their handling of the outbreak.

Also on Monday, the World Health Organization (WHO) also agreed to launch an independent probe into how they handled the international response to the corona virus. The countries requesting the investigation included African, European and other countries and is looking for a review of the WHO’s response to the corona virus outbreak.

In response to the new tariffs, Australia’s Minister for Trade Simon Birmingham on Monday night denied Australia had subsidized or dumped barley in China. Will be following this news carefully as China accounts for 33% of Australia’s total exports at $135 billion in 2019.

China blocks imports of Australian beef in response to Australian inquiry to the origin of the corona virus.

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According to theweek.in, an India news publication – Beijing is blocking imports of Australian beef after the Australian goverment asked for an inquiry into the source of the origin of the corona virus. However, China’s foreign ministry claims the suspension of beef imports is to protect Chinese consumers after violations of inspection and quarantine requirements by Australian companies.

The article highlights other instances of Beijing restricting imports:
1. China blocks imports of Norwegian salmon after a human rights prisoner was awarded the nobel prize
2. China blocks imports of canola from Canada to pressure Canada to release Huawei executive
3. China blocks imports of Philippine bananas in response to dispute over territory in the South China Sea

However, the article notes this is the first time Beijing has used banning imports in response to criticism over the corona virus. In response to the ban on Australian beef, the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia draws clear lines on certain issues And those things are not to be traded.

This isn’t the first time China has blocked imports of Australian goods – in 2019, China suspended imports of Australian coal in response to Australia’s government recision of a visa for a Chinese businessman.

Will be interested to see what happens to the status of Australian beef imports to China.

Trans-Pacific Partnership will come into force December 2018

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When the terms of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was agreed to in March 2018, the largest free-trade agreement in Asia would become effective upon ratification by six out of the 11 participating countries.

On Tuesday October 30th, Australia became the sixth country to ratify the pact meaning tariff cuts will take place as early as December, almost 2 years after President Trump withdrew the US from talks. Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Peru and Vietnam have yet to ratify the deal.

It is estimated the new TPP trade deal will remove tariffs on an estimated 95% of goods traded among the 11 member countries and a combined GDP of $10 trillion.

If you have any questions how the new TPP deal may impact your business, feel free to contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at any time, 832.896.6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.