CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA — China has announced it will impose a five-year, 80% anti-dumping and anti-subsidy tariff on barley imported from Australia, effective May 19.

China’s Ministry of Commerce announced the measure, which essentially cuts off the market of Australia’s biggest barley customer. In recent years, China has purchased more than $1 billion of barley per year from Australia.

Australia has indicated it may appeal to the World Trade Organization.

The action was taken amid growing tensions between the two countries. Australia has called for an independent investigation into the origins of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which originated in Wuhan, China, in late 2019 and has spread worldwide, infecting nearly 5 million people and killing 320,000.

Bloomberg reported on May 19 that a vessel containing Australian barley bound for China has changed its course and is now heading to the Port of Jebel Ali in United Arab Emirates.

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