Australian Ambassador to China Warns over China's Trade Behaviour
China Coal ImportSCMP

Australian Ambassador to China Warns over China's Trade Behaviour

ABC reported that Australia's ambassador in Beijing Mr Graham Fletcher has labelled China’s campaign of economic punishment against Australia vindictive

ABC reported that Australia's ambassador in Beijing Mr Graham Fletcher has labelled China’s campaign of economic punishment against Australia vindictive as the diplomatic relationship between the two countries remains stuck in a rut. Mr Fletcher delivered a caustic assessment of China's behaviour while speaking to Australian businesses via a video link from Beijing warned that Australian businesses which rely too heavily on the Chinese market could be left exposed to campaigns of economic coercion directed by the government said "You've just got to imagine that, unexpectedly, you may lose your China market for no good reason other than that Beijing has decided to send a message to Canberra. Now that's a very unwelcome situation, but I think frankly that's where we are at. I'm not sure China realises the damage that is occurring both in Australia and internationally. It’s been exposed as quite unreliable as a trading partner and even vindictive."

Tensions between China and Australia have been simmering for a while now and the rocky relationship could be about to head to a whole new level. In the last nine months, China’s government has targeted several Australian industries including barley, coal, timber and lobsters as it tries to force Canberra to give ground on a wide range of disputes. About 40 ships carrying coal of Australian origin are still awaiting clearance at Chinese ports amid the protracted standoff. Most of the coal is believed to be metallurgical, the kind used in steelmaking.

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade recently confirmed that Australian trade with China had plummeted across almost all industries, with overall figures propped up largely by Beijing's strong demand for iron ore. While China can buy coal elsewhere, it is heavily dependent on ore from Australia because it is one of the world’s biggest producers and closer and therefore cheaper to ship from than iron from other producing countries in Africa and South America.

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