Step forward to resolve barley dispute with China

  • Joint media release with:
  • Senator the Hon Penny Wong, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Leader of the Government in the Senate
  • Senator the Hon Murray Watt, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Minister for Emergency Management

The Australian Government has reached an agreement with China that creates a pathway towards resolving the dispute over Australian barley.

Since 2020, China’s 80.5 per cent duties on Australian barley have effectively blocked exports to that market, worth about $916 million in 2018-19.

The Australian Government has been clear in our view that there is no justification for these duties and that it is in both countries’ best interest for all trade impediments to be removed.

Following recent constructive dialogue at all levels, we welcome China’s agreement to undertake an expedited review of the duties over a three-month period, which may extend to a fourth if required.

This dialogue has taken place in parallel to Australia continuing to prosecute our national interests through the World Trade Organization (WTO). Australia has agreed to temporarily suspend the WTO dispute for the agreed review period.

If the duties are not lifted at the end of the review period, Australia will resume the dispute in the WTO. The WTO trade disputes system encourages bilateral resolution where possible.

The Australian Government will continue to pursue our national interests through dialogue and the multilateral trading system. We will use all opportunities, including the WTO dispute mechanism, to get the best outcomes for Australia’s world-class producers and farmers.

This includes creating further opportunities for Australian business to diversify overseas markets.

We remain confident in the outcome for Australian wine at the WTO. If today’s agreement is successful in providing a pathway for lifting duties on barley, we expect a similar process to be followed to remove trade barriers for Australian wine.

The Albanese Government’s approach has been to cooperate with China where we can, disagree where we must and engage in our national interest. This pathway reflects that approach.

Media enquiries

  • Minister's office: 02 6277 7420
  • DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555