A trade war between China and Australia is brewing amid Aussie support for an international in-vestigation into the origins of Covid-19 and Beijing’s commitment to buy US goods.
China has stepped up its purchases of agricultural imports from America as it bids to meet its obligations under a deal signed by the two countries earlier this year.
It has authorised the import of US barley and fresh blueberries – just days after imposing huge tarrifs on Australian grain and totally blocking beef imports.
China, hampered by the coronavirus pandemic, has been slow to meet its trade deal commitments agreed under the first phase of its deal with America.
In recent weeks, however, it has been increasing its pork imports from the US and last week removed the tariffs from a range of American goods.
China expert Dan Senger, a consultant at CDI Global, told the South China Morning Post that it would have been difficult for Beijing to meet its trade deal commitments in farm goods even under normal circumstances.
Meanwhile Australia has been angered by the imposition of up to 80 per cent tariff on its barley exports to China and a ban on its beef, with Chinese officials citing labelling and health certificate violations for the action.
There have been suggestions, however, that the dispute with Canberra has more to do with Beijing’s anger over the Australian government’s support for an investigation into the origins of coronavirus outbreak rather than trading issues.