Australian exports: China takes further action

Wednesday 18 Nov 2020

China has banned timber from Victoria and says it will step up inspections on all Australian timber imports after pests were found in shipments to two Chinese ports.

The latest escalation in trade tensions with China comes as Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has warned the federal government against ripping up the state's Belt & Road deal and called for greater "respect and mutual understanding".

China customs said in a notice posted on its website late Wednesday that imports shipped from Victoria after October 11 would be banned after "live pests" were found in logs from the state.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the government was working with the industry to address Chinese authorities' complaints saying, "There is concern around the effectiveness of fumigation treatments on shipments of bushfire affected logs for export."

"The department has notified the industry and the major Victorian exporter and is working with industry on an enhanced treatment and inspection response and will be writing to GACC [General Administration of Customs in China] in the coming days."

The move follows a similar ban on timber from Queensland last month and is the latest escalation of China's unofficial trade war on Australia. In the past six months, China has placed restrictions or bans on Australian barley, lobster, coal and told distributors to stop buying sugar, copper, wine and other products.

China customs said the move was made in line with Chinese and international quarantine standards designed to stop the spread of "harmful pests".

Logs from south-western Victoria and South Australia were due to be shipped to China from the Port of Portland. The port's chief executive, Greg Tremewen, said the suspension would have far-reaching consequences for the local economy. He said the Port of Portland exported well over 1 million tonnes of logs each year, with the vast majority going to China.

"Something would need to happen very quickly for those ships to be loaded. It's not good news."

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Source: ABC, AFR and SMH

Further Coverage

Log imports from State of Victoria banned - China has banned imports of logs from Victoria in Australia as of 11 November according to a notice on the Australian Department of Agriculture's website. This is because the quarantine service in China once again detected pests in a log shipment. Customs clearance for logs shipped from the state of Queensland after October 31, 2020 will not be cleared. Since the beginning of this year, the Chinese customs has repeatedly detected live pests such as Cerambycidae and Buprestidae in logs imported from Australia.

In accordance with national quarantine laws and regulations the infected logs have been treated and the exporters notified of the non-conformance with international standards and required to investigate the causes and take improvement measures to avoid a recurrence.

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Source: wood365

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