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Tensions between Australia and China have reached crisis levels with the latter now banning the import of coal, barley, copper ore, sugar, timber and wine. The measures are set to begin on Friday and could have widespread consequences for Australian traders. China has already slapped tariffs on barley and wine in order to hit back after Australia banned Huawei from participating in its 5G network.
According to a source in the Chinese government, the ban will begin on Friday in a serious blow to Australia’s trade with the state.
Australia exports $1.2billion (£658million) dollars of wine to China every year, thus causing a large black hole within the state’s trade.
Tony Battaglene, chief executive of wine industry group Australian Grape and Wine said: “There’s a very consistent message coming out, which is that Friday is D-day, and it’s not just about wine it’s about a whole lot of products.”
Not only is China attempting to punish Australia for standing up to the state but some experts believe Beijing is attempting to show the costs of political disagreements to other countries.
Richard McGregor, a senior fellow at Sydney-based think tank the Lowy Institute, told Bloomberg: “China seems determined to punish Australia and make it an example to other countries.
“They want to show there’s a cost for political disagreements.”
Trade with China is vital for Australia and will prove even more so to help the state recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
According to figures, China’s share of Australian exports stood at 48.8 percent.
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Within the large trade surplus, exports from Australia to China rose to $14.6billion (£8billion) in June.
Earlier this year, Australia’s Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Joel Fitzgibbon claimed the two are now in an economic war.
He said: “We are in an economic war with China.
“That is a reality.
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“The Australia-China relationship has fallen to a point never seen since Tiananmen Square, probably worse than that point.”
The ban of Australian products also comes as Canberra has looked to rejuvenate its strategic ties with Japan, the US and India within the Quad alliance.
The Quad alliance mostly comprises military drills between the four states.
This week, the four states began the Malabar Joint exercises in the Bay of Bengal in a show of force against Beijing.
China’s navy has aggressively attempted to stake its claim in the region – especially in the East and the South China Seas.
With this in mind, the UK’s former Sea Lord, Admiral Alan West claimed the UK must too take a greater stand against Beijing in the South China Sea.
He told Express.co.uk: “I think we do need to stand up to China because it’s sabre rattling, as I say, it’s effectively claiming the South China Sea.
“It goes ‘the nine-dash line they see up to that belongs to us’.
“You’ve got to show the bullies on the stage, you’ve got to stand up to them.”
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