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Trade tensions rise as China slaps tariffs on Australian barley

Ties between Australia and China are under growing strain after Beijing imposed tariffs and suspensions on Australian agricultural products.

To help us understand how we've got to this point in trade relations between the two countries, we just need to point to COVID-19.

Since the outbreak of the new coronavirus, diplomatic and trade relations have worsened between Australia and China, particularly since Australia backed Washington's call for an inquiry into the origins of COVID-19.

With a recent editorial in Chinese state media paper The Global Times describing Australia as "The giant kangaroo that serves as a dog of the US"... it is evident things aren't going too great at the moment.

Image credit: Food Navigator Asia

In response to Australia's support for an international investigation into the origins of COVID-19, China is threatening to impose tariffs of up to 80 per cent on Australian barley and has even suspended Australian beef imports.

China's ban on the importation of beef from four Australian abattoirs is expected to affect about 35 per cent of the projected $3.5bn worth of beef exports to China this year.

Although Australia's agricultural minister David Littleproud declared that "there is no trade war" with China, experts in the field predict that more action from Beijing is likely, and warn that news of the bailey tariff will send a message inside China that Australia is not a "friendly" or reliable country to import from.

With what appears to be an amusing situation involving child-like digs between arguing siblings, the reality is quite concerning.

China is a huge consumer of Australian goods and produce, thus the decision to impose such harsh tariffs and ban other imports is particularly bad news for Australians associated with the country's agricultural sector.

Beijing's actions could also impact the decision to buy Australian goods across several industries.

The decision by China to impose tariffs on Australian barley imports has highlighted how reliant some sectors are on Chinese demand, with wool producers now under threat.

With 75% per cent reliance on Chinese demand, Australia's wool industry is now exposed and under threat due to the escalating trade tensions.


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