Australia is to blame for suspension of economic dialogue: NDRC
Published: May 18, 2021 12:38 PM
China Australia. Photo: VCG

China Australia. Photo: VCG

China's top economic planner on Tuesday urged the Australian government to stop disrupting bilateral trade and investment cooperation, and to promote the sound development of bilateral relations.

The comment came after the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) suspended all activities under the China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue on May 6, marking the first time that a bilateral diplomatic mechanism had been frozen amid a downward spiral in bilateral relations

Asked about the move at a press briefing on Tuesday, Jin Xiandong, a spokesperson for the NDRC, said that the mechanism had played a positive role in enhancing bilateral economic links.

However, Jin said, irrational and restrictive measures - on top of a crackdown by the Australian federal government on bilateral trade and investment projects - had undermined mutual trust between the two countries, and badly harmed the confidence of companies to carry out mutually beneficial cooperation.

"Consequently, we have to make a legitimate and necessary reaction, and Australia should bear full responsibility for such moves," Jin said at the conference.

"We urge the Australian side to treat China-Australian cooperation objectively and reasonably, to treat Chinese companies fairly, end the disruption of bilateral trade and investment cooperation, and take actions to bring forward the sound development of bilateral relations," he noted.

Also on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said that the Australian government needs to listen to rational voices and abandon its cold war mentality and ideological prejudice, in response to a recent call from Australian Industry Group Chief Executive Innes Willox for resorting to rational negotiations to ease their tensions.  

A rising number of far-sighted Australians have voiced concerns about this situation, and they have urged Australia to re-think its China policy and come up with fairly valuable suggestions, Zhao noted.

Bilateral economic tension has sparked concerns over commodity trade between the two countries, including iron ore, which is one of the main products China imports from Australia and a major contributor to Australia's economy.

Responding to the skyrocketing price of iron ore, Jin said the NDRC will make full use of the resources of both domestic and international markets, adding that the NDRC will strengthen the domestic exploration of iron ore and accelerate new projects related to iron ore.

Meanwhile, the agency has encouraged companies to actively tap into iron ore resources abroad to expand and diversify import sources.

The NDRC and the State Administration for Market Regulation are surveying iron ore and steel markets in order to strengthen market regulation and safeguard market stability.

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