China increases import quota for Australian wool
Published: Jan 05, 2021 05:13 PM

Chinese tourists pet Merino sheep on display from the Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) in the Central business district of Sydney in 2016. Photo: AFP

China increased it import quota for Australian wool from 36,465 tons last year to 38,288 tons for 2021, according to a newly released official statement. The increase came at a time when China and Australia are encountering fraying relations, caused by Canberra's disregard of China's core interests.

According to China's free trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand, China has set the import quota for wool and wool top from the two countries in 2021, China's Ministry of Commerce and Chinese Customs said in a joint statement.

According to the statement, the import quota for New Zealand wool and wool top is 36,936 tons and 665 tons, respectively, while the quota for Australian wool is 38,288 tons.

It was notable that the quota for Australian wool this year is higher than that of last year, with last year's quota at 36,465, while the quotas for New Zealand wool and wool top remained unchanged. 

The statement did not provide a further explanation for the decision. 

The increased quota for Australian wool came at a time when bilateral ties between Australia and China has seen a sharp deterioration after Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison urged for an investigation into China's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, strongly hinting that the virus originated from China. Canberra was also the first country to follow the US government's discriminative policy to ban Huawei and ZTE.