China Australia relations

China’s “bully boy” trade tactics could backfire by making the “made in China” label toxic for average Aussies. China has retaliated to Australia’s pursuit of an independent inquiry into COVID-19 by threatening our beef industry (through their ambassador, Cheng Jingye) and then blocking imports from four major Australian abattoirs.
China is emboldened by its superior market position but that position is being put at risk. China thinks we need them more than they need us and, when you look at the trade figures, you can forgive them for thinking that. But the Chinese people need food more than they need the Communist Party and there will be a lot of pressure to import food from a world that is increasingly suspicious of China’s motives and market power.
Our farmers, growing beef, barley and many other products, produce some of the highest quality food in the world and that is an attractive product for an increasingly middle class Chinese population. China’s attempt to bully Australia into backing off on an inquiry will be incredibly damaging to the Made-in-China brand among ordinary Australians. Australia is a free and democratic country and our government doesn’t need to resort to such tactics (although we may). The market will put its own ban on Chinese imports – one family at a time.
One of the big lessons coming from COVID-19 is about the reliance on China and the resurgent desire to buy Australian Made and to encourage manufacturing back to Australia is a result of that lesson. Queensland farmers produced and exported $1.3 billion of beef for the Chinese market last year and the crackdown on exports affects three major abattoirs in the State, including JBS’s Dinmore abattoir (Ipswich) Beef City processing facility (Toowoomba), and the Chinese-owned Kilcoy Global Foods.
An escalating trade war with China would not be confined to Australia as other countries around the world also were pushing for an independent inquiry into COVID-19. China can’t afford to block trade with everyone or else they risk having the world gradually close its doors to Chinese exports. But that is exactly what will happen if they continue to ride roughshod over their trading partners. There has already been a worldwide shift in mood about China, including its market power and its motives, and there are many companies around the world looking for alternatives to manufacturing in the Communist country.

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