Australia said it was closely monitoring exports to China on Friday, according to a “deeply troubled” report, asking Chinese buyers not to purchase seven categories of Australian goods ranging from coal to wine, Which will increase diplomatic tension.
Australian media have reported that Chinese importers were informally warned by customs officials that there would be increased inspections of goods including copper ore, barley, sugar, timber and lobster from Friday.
Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said Chinese officials had publicly and privately denied that any coordinated effort was being made against Australia, and added that he hoped Beijing was “true to its word” .
“They deny any discriminatory actions that are being taken. But that does not seem to be what the industry is currently seeing and hearing, ”he said on radio station 5AA.
Giving information on the matter, a Chinese source said that the merchandise trade was effectively stalled for now, and that other products such as beef might be affected in the future.
“It was not a full order, but a suggestion,” the person said, declining to be identified due to the sensitivity of the case.
China buys around a third of Australia’s exports.
The Beijing-based wine importer and distributor told Reuters that its custom agent in Shanghai was called to a meeting last week and warned that Australian wine would no longer be processed by customs after 6 November.
He said an employee of the company was called to a meeting in Beijing on Monday and was told that Australian liquor would not be processed.
He said other issues were not specified.
Relations between Australia and its largest trading partner have been strained after Beijing’s resentment over Australia’s call for international investigations about the source of coronovirus and the Australian police raid involving investigations into foreign interference.
To confirm whether China has banned Australian imports, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said in a briefing on Friday that the measures taken by China, which he did not specify, were “legitimate, reasonable and contemptuous”. Are beyond. “
Some Chinese importers had already abandoned Australian products, without explicit government orders.
Two beef importers told Reuters that they had recently purchased the products instead of South America.
A manager with a Beijing-based meat importer said, “You don’t know what’s going to happen, and when they arrive, carrots will be able to come or not.”
“There is no clear order on beef yet, but you can try to understand the situation yourself,” the manager said.
Australian companies stopped sending rock lobster to China this week after new customs inspections on live seafood resulted in lobster fish dying before reaching customers. China also prohibited some timber imports and barley shipments from an Australian-based exporter.
“Clearly it is unacceptable for precious fragile cargo such as live seafood to wait at the end of days to sit at the port,” Birmingham told reporters.
China launched an anti-dumping investigation into Australian wines earlier this year, and imposed a dumping tariff on Australian barley.
Birmingham said that “the extent and extent of what the industry is hearing is very disturbing”.
“The continuous stream, it seems, is troubled by administrative or other decisions being taken in China, increasing the risk for Australian businesses.”
Australia’s agriculture department held a meeting on Thursday for China’s 400 farmers and exporters, warning of recent delays and commercial losses, it said in a Reuters statement. Department officials asked exporters to consult importers in China on potential disruptions.
On Friday, the editorial in the official Daily China Daily newspaper said that China’s investigation involved only a small fraction of imports from Australia, before Canberra was made “clear about Washington’s brittleness with China too late.” Is “.
Referring to Australia’s US alliance, it was said that it would be a decision to choose Australia, as Australia would regret it because its economy would suffer more.
Australia joined the United States, India and Japan on Thursday for a three-way Malabar naval exercise, the first time Australia has participated since 2007.
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