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Australian barley hits 3-year low amid friction with Beijing

Exports to China nosedive, triggered by conflict over origin of pandemic

TOKYO -- Export prices of Australian barley, which is used in animal fodder and beer production, reached a three-year low in September, after experiencing a sharp downturn this year due to plunging exports to China, the country's biggest market. Behind this is friction between Canberra and Beijing over the origin of the new coronavirus pandemic.

On Sept. 1, the General Administration of Customs of China announced a partial ban on imports of barley from Australia, a leading player in world barley export markets, citing the discovery of pests in shipments from grain growers' cooperative CBH. With the Australian exporter denying the charge, bilateral tensions between the two countries have inflamed.

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