Canberra/Beijing: – Trade war has been sparked between Australia and China and China has given indications of stopping the import of seven Australian products. Although China has not announced the decision on the official level, it has ordered the Chinese industry to stop imports of Australian products. These include prawns, coal, wood, sugar, copper, barley and wines. Australian Trade Minister, Simon Birmingham, has expressed intense displeasure over the development and has warned that China should clarify its stand within the legal framework.
China, trying to fulfil its ambition to dominate the world, against the background of the Coronavirus pandemic, is facing stiff challenges from around the world. Many small and big countries, including the United States and European countries, are taking an open stand to oppose Chinese activities. The tension between China and Australia, the major trade partners, was surfacing slowly over the last few years. The tension which was increasing due to the Chinese interference in internal Australian politics and cyberattacks intensified given the Coronavirus pandemic. The relations between the two countries seem to be festering further given the repeated threats issued by China and the tough stand adopted by Australia. Only last month, Australian analysts had warned of a new trade war between China and Australia. The Chinese action seems to be endorsing their claims.
In the last two years, Australia made many aggressive legislation to stop Chinese interference. Australia was leading in the countries banning the Chinese company Huawei. After that, at the beginning of this year, the Australian agencies started inquiries into Chinese ‘Dumping’. After this inquiry, Australia imposed restrictions of import of metals like steel, aluminium, silicon from China. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison even brought a bill in the Australian parliament against Chinese investment. The Australian stand on the Coronavirus pandemic and the South China Sea has become a cause for Chinese displeasure. Therefore, China seems to have decided to target Australia with a trade war.
In 2015, Australia and China signed a free trade agreement. This is considered to be the highest point in the bilateral relations between the two countries. Current bilateral trade between Australia and China is more than $235 billion and the Chinese exports dominate the trade. The analysts are claiming that despite this, China is trying to prove its might by starting a conflict with one of its major trading partners. The Chinese relations with the other major trading partners like the United States, Europe, Japan and India are already strained. It has also been reported that its effects are already visible in the Chinese economy. Therefore, China starting a trade war with Australia, in this scenario, becomes noteworthy.