SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — As China’s anti-dumping investigation against Australian barley continues, five Australian grain organizations are  encouraging growers to be aware of market risk as potential outcomes  remain uncertain.

According to a unified organization statement by GrainGrowers, Grains Industry Market Access Forum, Australian Grain Exporters Council, Grain Producers Australia and Grain Trade Australia, China is Australia’s largest barley export market and Australia is the largest supplier of barley to China.

“Although the Australian grain industry is confident that dumping has not occurred, the likely outcome of this anti-dumping investigation is unknown at this point in time,” the organizations said. “Possible outcomes could include the imposition of provisional import measures such as securities or cash deposits on Australian barley exports to China. These measures have a similar impact as tariffs in that they artificially increase the price of Australian barley in China.”

The outcome of the investigation is creating market uncertainty.

“Australian grain growers should be aware of the potential risk of the imposition of provisional measures on barley exports to China as they approach the autumn planting period, which may have a consequential impact on prices,” the organizations said. “Growers should also be aware of the broad range of factors that may impact barley prices over the coming season. While the issues surrounding the China export market are uncertain, other factors would include issues such as global weather and plantings for grain crops in other countries.”

According to the World Trade Organization (WTO), to prove anti-dumping the government has to be able to show that dumping is taking place, calculate the extent of dumping (how much lower the export price is compared to the exporter’s home market price), and show that the dumping is causing injury or threatening to do so.

The organizations said that Australian exporters, industry bodies and government responded to China’s Ministry of Commerce investigation confirming:

  • The claim of dumping, causing injury to China’s domestic barley industry is unsubstantiated;
  • The Australian grain industry operates in an open, commercial and competitive global market; and
  • The notion of dumping is not consistent with the commercial realities of the Australian grain industry.

 China is also currently amidst trade talks with the United States, having put a 25% tariff on all U.S. soybeans in July 2018.

When the anti-dumping investigation began in late 2018, it was speculated that the barley anti-dumping probe was tied more to political than economic issues as it comes after the United States agreed to partner with Australia to redevelop Papua New Guinea’s naval base at Manus Island, Australia.