4 June 2020


Tim Quilty says tariffs against quality Australian exports are self-defeating

Liberal Democrats Member for Northern Victoria Tim Quilty has condemned tariffs imposed on Australian barley, pointing out that they are an own-goal for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Speaking in Parliament yesterday, Mr Quilty underlined that any regime which has tried to fight against competitive free markets has come out the loser.

“Australia has the best farmers in the world, we generate some of the highest quality food in the world,” Mr Quilty said. “Australian farmers run complex businesses at the cutting edge of science. They’re at the cutting edge because they’ve been honed by decades at the grindstone of competition.

“Every time in history that authoritarian regimes have picked a fight with competitive free markets, markets have scored brutal wins.”

Mr Quilty said that when a regime such as the CCP imposes a tariff on imports, the only losers are the consumers living under that regime.

“The CCP, in setting a high tariff on Australian barley, have just kicked an own-goal. All they have done is made Australian barley 80% more expensive in China.

“They haven’t made it worse quality, they haven’t made it more expensive to produce, they’ve just made it more expensive for Chinese businesses to access the best quality ingredients.”

Mr Quilty told the Legislative Council that a good quality product such as Australian barley will always find buyers.

“In the short term, this is a painful inconvenience for the Australian agriculture industry. In the long term it just doesn’t matter,” Mr Quilty said.

“After our barley farmers have decided if they want to keep growing the best barley in the world to sell at great prices, or if they want to select a new crop, the rest of the world is going to keep lining up to buy our stuff.

“I will never be a supporter of the CCP, but I look forward to the day when we have fully free trade with China, trade that is not impacted on by state posturing or international politics.

“At least then the people of China will then be free to enjoy quality beer brewed with first rate Australian barley, even if they will not be free to criticise their own government.”

For more information, contact Graham Springett | 0408 208819