Tariffs on barley not the only problem Australia may face: Chinese experts

By Wang Bozun Source:Globaltimes.cn Published: 2020/5/10 21:44:13

File Photo: Xinhua

Australia worries that China will impose tariffs on its exported barley, but it might face much bigger problems than barley if it continues to take unfriendly action against China, experts warned on Sunday.

The comments came after Reuters reported that China might increase duties on Australian barley, as bilateral ties between the world's second-biggest economy and one of its biggest suppliers of farm products have been further damaged by Canberra's most recent move on the origins of COVID-19. 

"The Australian government is deeply concerned by reports that unjustified duties may be levied on Australian barley imports into China," Trade Minister Simon Birmingham was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Ties between China and Australia have deteriorated in recent years, especially since Australia followed the US' move in trying to blame China for the pandemic and launched political attacks on China.

Relations are the foundation of trade between two countries, and deteriorating ties could result in severe damage to bilateral trade between China and Australia, Jiang Yong, an expert at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations in Beijing, told the Global Times on Sunday.

On November 19, 2019, China extended for six months an anti-dumping investigation on Australia's exported barley that started on November 19, 2018, and the investigation is due to finish on May 19 this year. This apparently caused Australia's anxiety on potential tariffs.  

But "China has more measures than tariffs to respond to Australia's unfriendly actions if it keeps doing so," Jiang said.

Citing an example, Jiang said that "most of Australia's exports are bulk commodities such as agricultural products, which are highly replaceable, and amid the worldwide economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, China could easily find some alternatives."

China is a major trade partner of Australia, as 33 percent of the latter's exported goods go to China," Yu Lei, a chief research fellow at the Research Center for Pacific Island Countries, Liaocheng University, told the Global Times

"If Australia continues its unfriendly actions - even if the Chinese government doesn't respond - many sectors of Australia's economy including tourism, education and insurance could still be affected by deteriorating ties as Chinese people would vote with their feet," Yu said.

Posted in: DIPLOMACY

blog comments powered by Disqus