China’s craft brewers cheer return of Australian barley imports

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The 80.5% anti-dumping duties on barley from Australia, which had been in effect for more than three years, were canceled by China on August 5. The reason for the imposition of duties on barley and wine was Australia’s demand to investigate the origin of the COVID-19 virus. Relations between the two countries began to improve in 2022.

Before the duties were imposed, China purchased 86% to 91% of Australia’s barley exports, and Australian raw materials accounted for more than half of the malted barley consumed by China.

Due to the absence of Australian barley on the market, brewers, including craft brewers, had to switch to French or Canadian barley. At the same time, alternatives of similar quality were more expensive. Today, the price of Australian barley is $350 per ton, while French barley costs $390. The cost of logistics for Australian barley is $25-30 per ton, while supplies from Europe will cost $35-45.

As stated by the Chinese Association of Alcohol Industry Manufacturers, the Chinese barley market has undergone major changes since the introduction of duties, and anti-dumping measures are no longer needed. Barley prices have risen significantly amid the pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine, and malt barley was grown domestically by half as much as in 2009 – less than 1 million tons.

According to Malteurop, a malt company, since the abolition of duties, about 300 thousand tons of barley have already been contracted to be shipped to China from Australia.

Australian farmers are also happy about the abolition of duties: due to the cessation of supplies to China, they had to sell grain to Saudi Arabia, which was cheaper to buy for feeding camels, goats and sheep.

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