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Trade Minister Predicts China to Lift Trade Sanctions on Australia in the Near Future

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Trade Minister Senator Don Farrell expects China’s trade barriers against Australia to be dropped soon following the removal of Beijing’s 80.5 percent tariff on Australian barley.

Speaking at Western Australia’s Kwinana Grain Terminal on Aug. 29, Senator Farrell said it was wonderful to see the return of barley exports.

“As you know, a couple of weeks ago, as a result of an application to the Chinese government to review their tariffs, 80.5 percent tariffs on Australian barley, the Chinese government agreed to lift those tariffs. Just behind me are the silos that yesterday were filled with this beautiful barley that have now started the process of delivering that barley back into the Chinese market,” he said.

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Senator Farrell said he believed that Australia would also see the trade restrictions on wine, lobster, hay, and a range of beef products dropped in a short space of time due to the government’s ongoing negotiations.

“We’re working on those. It’ll take a bit of perseverance, it’ll take a bit of persistence, and it’ll take a little bit of time, but I’m confident that the good working relationship that we’ve now achieved with the Chinese government will, in a short space of time, result in all of those restrictions being removed,” he said.

“We’ve removed a whole lot of impediments on a variety of different products, obviously, including barley. But we still have more to do.”

Currently, Beijing has applied a 200 percent tariff to Australian wine, and is also continuing to maintain tariffs on other products, including beef, lobsters, honey, timber, and lamb.

Beijing Warned Sanctions Hurting Business Image in Australia

The comments from Senator Farrell come as the Assistant Minister for Trade Tim Ayers told CNBC Squawk Box Asia that the Australian Government wants to see trade with China return to normal and warned China was creating a bad image for itself commercially.

“I want to see more progress on the remaining impediments to Australian trade into China,” he said.

“It is not in the interests, of course, of Australian exporters or Chinese consumers. It is certainly not in the interests of Chinese business for these impediments to continue to be placed in front of a range of imports into China.”

Mr. Ayers also warned Beijing that the continued sanctions were preventing Australian businesses from engaging in the Chinese market because they wanted the assurance China would operate under the international rules-based approach to trade.

“Until we’ve removed all of those impediments, it’s not possible to say that trade is back to normal,” Mr. Ayers said.

Trade Exposure Causing Worries As Economic Slump Hits China

The comments from the trade ministers come as China’s desire for Australian products continues to remain stable despite the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) punitive sanctions.

Currently, trade with China represents about one-third of all Australian exports.

However, this exposure to the Chinese trade market has led to concerns in the Australian financial sector given the ongoing slow down of the Chinese economy.

Australian Treasurer Jim Chalmers said that the slump does painted a concerning picture.

“A lot of economists around the world are concerned about the Chinese economy right now, and … I share that concern,” Mr. Chalmers told ABC Radio on Aug. 25.

“What we’re seeing … is a very different combination of challenges compared with most of the rest of the world.”

The treasurer said a weak retail sector in China, along with property sector concerns and local government debt were issues for the superpower.

“All of those things together paint a pretty concerning picture,” Mr. Chalmers said.

“We monitor these developments very closely, as you would expect, because in our economy … the two things that will probably matter most to that trajectory will be developments in China but also the impact of these (interest) rate rises which are in the system.”



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