China Suspends Shipments From Australia’s Largest Grain Exporter
China has announced it is suspending grain shipments from Western Australia-based CBH Grain PTY Ltd, claiming that it had found quarantine pests in barley shipments, according to China’s General Administration of Customs.
CBH is a cooperative and Australia’s largest grain exporter, selling millions of tons of barley, canola, and wheat to Asia and the Middle East. This year, Australia is set to produce approximately 10.6 million tons of barley, of which, CBH is expected to handle 30 percent.
Beijing has also retracted CBH’s registration qualification to ship barley to the country, but CBH stated it will contest the suspension, saying that it has met all export requirements.
This move by Beijing comes after China’s state-run media has made statements claiming that Australia has been “provoking” and “antagonizing” the country by following the same path as the U.S. “toward decoupling”. It also accuses Australia of politicizing the pandemic by pushing for an inquiry into the origin of COVID-19.
To fill the gap, barley shipments from Argentina to China have picked up after a three-year lull, with Argentina on pace to send 250,000 tons to China this year, and a record 380,000 tons next year.