How the Chinese ‘salt’ industry could soon take over Australia
China is looking to become a major player in the Australian wholesale salt industry, and one of the biggest players is the Chinese wholesale salt supplier, Chobani.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has opened a formal inquiry into the potential takeover of the company.
A spokesperson for the company confirmed that it is working with the ACCC on its investigation into the alleged takeover, and that it will be taking its case to court.
The ACCC is also investigating whether the company is breaching consumer protection laws by using a loophole to avoid paying GST on salt that would otherwise be taxable.
The company’s salt sales have risen by 40 per cent over the past three years, and are now worth more than $4 billion, according to its annual report.
It says it has grown its salt business from a small operation in Shanghai to an “unparalleled global brand” with over 80 countries supplying its products.
But the company has faced a raft of complaints in the past year about its handling of its salt.
The NSW Liquor Commission has launched an investigation into whether the sale of salt in NSW is unlawful, and is expected to publish its findings later this month.
It is also conducting an inquiry into whether Chobanese is a “salt importer” under the Trade Practices Act, and whether the Australian Competition Tribunal has jurisdiction over it.
“In relation to the importation of salt from China, the ACCAC is conducting a separate investigation into Chobanian’s compliance with the Australian Consumer Law,” a spokesperson said.
“As part of that investigation, the company will be seeking a declaration that it complies with the consumer protection requirements of the Australian Trade Commission.”