Australia’s growing trade dispute with China appears locked in a stalemate with no easy solution, according to one expert.
In the latest dispute, China appears to have formally restricted Australian coal imports in favor of both local production and imports from other suppliers, in a move that threatens the $ 14 billion export industry.
A report in Chinese state media The Global Times He said that China’s “chief economic planner” has authorized power plants to import coal without restrictions, except from Australia.
China has recently increased tariffs on Australian wine and barley and has blocked imports of lamb, beef, lobster and other products.
Roland Rajah of the Lowy Institute think tank said Nine.com.au that the trade dispute is part of broader international relations involving Australia’s key ally, the United States.
“China’s trade sanctions against Australia reflect international political drivers. Therefore, the solution will have to be found there,” he said.
“This applies to both the Australia-China relationship and the US-China relationship, due to Australia’s position as a key ally of the United States.
“Surely there are ways to settle things diplomatically, but it is not obvious that China is interested in that conversation at the moment.”
Trade Minister Simon Birmingham does not rule out The federal government brings China to the World Trade Organization (WTO) on reported threats to coal exports.
Rajah said Beijing realized Canberra would not give in to its threats, but that the trade dispute served as a warning to other countries.
“It seems clear that China’s trade belligerence is not going to change Australian policy. China surely must understand this,” he said.
“So it seems more aimed at warning other countries and perhaps also deterring any further action by Australia that China doesn’t like.”
China is Australia’s largest trading partner, absorbing 30 percent of our exports.
Australian politicians from major parties and industry figures have said the trade dispute showed that exporters should try to seek other markets.
But Rajah said that China is simply too big of a market to be completely replaced.
“This will not be easy. Diversification will happen in some areas. Coal exports can go elsewhere. So can many agricultural exports.”
“But it won’t be free. And in general, we can’t just replace the Chinese market, it’s just too big to replace.”