It comes after China blocked wood exports from two more states and increased the number of meat factories waiting for trade to resume to eight.
Overnight, China responded to claims by Australia’s trade minister that it had violated the terms of the Free Trade Agreement.
“The Australian Trade Minister’s alleged concerns about China’s accession to ChAFTA are totally unfounded. We hope Australia can do more to enhance mutual trust and bilateral cooperation,” said a spokesman for the Chinese embassy.
Speaking this morning, Birmingham said the government was “trying to help Australian companies find other markets” outside of China.
“It is not just with China that our trade has been growing,” Birmingham told Today.
He pointed to trade agreements with Japan, Korea, Canada, Mexico, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the EU and the UK.
But China remains Australia’s largest trading partner, accounting for 30 percent of exports.
“This pattern of behavior that we have seen throughout 2020, in particular, has been unacceptable relative to the way China has engaged,” Birmingham said.
He urged China to “come to the table for dialogue” to “work on these issues and concerns.”
“We are not going to change in terms of our values. We will continue to protect our national interest and our security as China does.”
Yesterday, Birmingham suggested that China could also be breaking the rules of the World Trade Organization.
“The selective nature of the Chinese government’s action on Australian products raises concerns about China’s adherence to the letter and spirit of its ChAFTA and WTO obligations,” said Senator Birmingham.
“After a reasonable start in bilateral engagement, in recent years the lack of commitment from the Chinese government has impeded the use of these structures.”
On Monday, Chinese customs added Tasmanian and South Australian timber exports to the list of log exporters facing restrictions, claiming pests had been found in the timber and said it was taking the measure to “prevent pests from Enter China and protect our country’s forestry and ecological safety. “
The move follows the Queensland and Victoria lumber shutdown in November.
Two lamb exporters, the Australian Lamb Company and JBS Brooklyn, have been prevented from returning to the Chinese market after the coronavirus clusters during the second wave of Victoria.
But the companies have been open for months after being licensed by Australian health authorities.
China State Media The Global Times on Tuesday he claimed that the coronavirus could have reached China through refrigerated meat products, citing that Wuhan imported Australian steak and Ecuadorian seafood in 2019.
Despite this, China has not stopped accepting meat from US slaughterhouses related to coronavirus outbreaks.
He has insisted that the tensions are not due to specific trade issues, but rather to political decisions made by the Australian government, including foreign investment laws and Scott Morrison’s decision to request an investigation into the origins of the coronavirus.