Riverina grower has faith in 'Australian spirit' despite more tariffs

TARIFF NEWS: Bob McCormack of Winchendonvale says Australian's have remarkable spirit despite more restrictions from China. Picture: Nikki Reynolds

TARIFF NEWS: Bob McCormack of Winchendonvale says Australian's have remarkable spirit despite more restrictions from China. Picture: Nikki Reynolds

THE news that Australia has been slapped with a barley tariff by China comes hot on the heels of recent ban of four beef abattoirs in this country.

Australia has great character and we always find a work around (with) these things.

Bob McCormack

While the news is a blow, one Riverina grower, Bob McCormack of "Lenton Park", Winchendonvale says the issue needs perspective at a ground level.

"Australia has great character and we always find a work around these things," he said in response to the barley tariffs.

Mr McCormack said we were right at the start of the winter cropping season and it was difficult to gauge just how much barley had been planted. He said barley wasn't being grown in the large proportions in southern NSW and the Riverina like areas such as the Liverpool Plains.

"We haven't actually got a crop yet and there are home consumption markets to consider as well," he said.

Mr McCormack encouraged Australian growers to explore other options rather than dwell on what can easily be interpreted as "bad news." "I actually don't think we have sown as much barley as we usually do ... and moving forward people will plant other crops," he said.

Meanwhile, GrainGrowers has released a statement saying the industry was deeply concerned about the dumping margin of 73.6 per cent and a subsidy margin of up to 6.9 per cent on all barley imported from Australia.

"These tariffs will disrupt and most likely halt exports by artificially increasing the price of Australian barley imported to China until the situation is resolved," the statement indicated. It is estimated the dispute could cost Australian grain industry and notably rural and regional economies at least $500 million per year.

For a number of years China has been Australia's largest barley export market.

China initiated anti-dumping and countervailing subsidy investigations regarding Australian barley exports in November and December 2018.

By way of explanation The World Trade Organisation (WTO) definition of dumping is when exports are sold at a price lower than the domestic market, and/or lower than production costs which results in 'injury' to the importing country's domestic production.