Chinese businesses need to watch out for risks from Australia

Source:Global Times Published: 2020/5/11 21:39:22

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Australian media outlets have shown great concern over the likelihood that China may soon impose major tariffs on barley exports from Australia, as the move could become the symbolic start to a series of retaliatory measures against the country.

Some Australian media have deliberately politicized the issue, describing it as China's retaliation to Australia's attempt to blame China for the pandemic by calling for an inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus outbreak. However, the fact is that the decision on Chinese tariffs will be based on an anti-dumping investigation into Australia's exported barley that has been ongoing for almost 18 months.

If anything, Australia's worries over potential tariffs underline the anxiety surrounding deteriorating China-Australia relations. Since China-US relations hit their lowest point in decades amid the COVID-19 crisis, relations between China and Australia have been heading in the same direction. Australian politicians have made no secret of their desire to follow the US, joining in on the China blame game. If China-US ties continue to deteriorate, the uncertainty surrounding China-Australia relations will also increase.

Such uncertainty will inevitably lead to economic repercussions. In this sense, it now seems necessary to advise Chinese people and companies to watch out for potential risks when it comes to doing business with or studying in Australia.

Fundamentally speaking, it is not in the interests of people in China and Australia if the latter's politicians continue to take unfriendly actions and launch political attacks on the former. China-US relations are now in trouble, and if Australia chooses to follow, that would not only negatively impact its relations with China but would also come at the cost of its own economy and trade.

In fact, the importance of China to Australia's economy may be far greater than some Australian politicians estimate. China is Australia's largest export destination, with exports to China accounting for about one third of its total exports. China is the main buyer of Australia's commodities, farm products and education services.

There is a need for Australia to reposition its role in regional geopolitics rather than becoming the lapdog of the US. It needs to rethink its relationships with the US and China at this juncture. Given its economic ties with Asian countries are closer than those it has with Western nations, it may be more in its interests to focus on how to further integrate into the Asian industrial chain.

Posted in: GT VOICE

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