By Boyd Champness

AUSTRALIAS decision to ban Canadian salmon imports may have backfired with the Canadian Government threatening a new 100% retaliation tax on Australian lamb, dairy and horticulture exports.

According to The Weekly Times newspaper, Australia has until 6 July to decide whether it will meet a World Trade Organisation directive to allow Canadian salmon into Australia.

The WTO wants Australia to show scientific cause why the ban should be upheld. If Australia cannot do this, the ban must be lifted.

Canadian Minister for International trade told the paper that Australia was showing no signs of lifting the ban “(which is) why we are consulting with the public on building a list of imported products that could be taxed”.

But Agriculture Minister Mark Vaile said Australia would stand by its decision to block Canadian salmon imports if ongoing scientific assessment showed they posed an unacceptable risk of disease.

“We want to make it very clear that we stand firmly behind the import risk analysis process we run in Australia,” he told The Weekly Times.

“The Quarantine Inspection Service undertakes this in terms of assessing the risk that may attach to imports coming into Australia.

“Australia is disease-free as far as salmon is concerned. We have got to recognise that Australia is an island nation.

“We are predominantly free from a lot if exotic diseases and want to keep it that way.”

Australian exports of lamb, fruit, nuts, seafood and cheese are among the 52 primary products that could face the new tariff.

The list does not include Australias A$86 million (£35m) in beef exports – Australias highest value primary produce export to Canada – but does include $7 million in lamb exports.