CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — A major Australian barley exporter barred from China in the latest trade dispute to hit bilateral relations said on Wednesday the Chinese are only now acting on grain shipments dating back to 2019.
China on Tuesday suspended barley imports from CBH Grain Pty. Ltd., Australia’s largest grain-exporting company, saying the grain was contaminated.
Chinese authorities have told Australia “to improve its plant export quarantine supervision system,” the customs agency said.
But the delay in China’s response to a sanitary issue adds weight to suspicions that CBH has become collateral damage in a political dispute over Australia’s call for an independent inquiry into the coronavirus pandemic.
CBH chief marketing and trading officer Jason Craig said on Wednesday the Chinese ban was over weed seeds in barley shipments to China dating back to December last year.