• By The Financial District


Australian timber and barley are the latest exports to be hit with customs restrictions in China, as the government continues to try to save millions of dollars worth of live rock lobsters held up at a Shanghai airport, Annika Burgess reported for Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa).

"The Australian government is aware that China has suspended exports of Australian logs from Queensland and exports of barley from an additional barley exporter," Agriculture Minister David Littleproud confirmed.

China's customs agency claims a bark beetle was found in timber imports from Queensland and weed seeds had contaminated a barley shipment. "Australia has strong regulatory controls that underpin the integrity and biosecurity of all products exported," Littleproud said. "We will work with the Chinese authorities to investigate and resolve these issues."

The news comes off the back of a growing list of trade disruptions amid escalating tensions between Beijing and Canberra. On Monday, Australia's Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said the government was investigating "exactly what the facts are" after tons of live Australian lobster faced Chinese customs clearance problems. China alleges the lobsters may be contaminated with trace elements of metals. In 2018-2019, China received around 94 per cent of Australia's 752 million Australian dollars ($526 million) worth of rock lobster exports.

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