China-Australia trade sees sharp decline in Sept amid souring ties
Published: Oct 13, 2021 09:51 PM
Iron ore Photo:VCG

Iron ore Photo:VCG

Trade between China and Australia saw a sharp month-on-month decline in September, according to data released by the General Administration of Customs (GAC) on Wednesday, underscoring rising pressure on bilateral trade from deteriorating bilateral relations.

In September, total bilateral trade reached $21 billion, a decline of about 12.5 percent from around $24 billion in August, according to a Global Times calculation of GAC data.

The sharp fall in bilateral trade comes as China moved to curb skyrocketing prices of iron ore, which is a major Australia export to China. In September, China's iron ore imports declined 12 percent year-on-year, according to the GAC.

"As Australia's largest importer and trading partner, China has less dependence on Australia. Therefore, the trade decline will have more impact on Australia, especially on its economic recovery after the pandemic," Song Wei, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Song said that so far this year, Australia has adopted hostile political attitude toward China, leading to the politicization of trade between the two countries. The Australian government has even asked the state of Victoria to withdraw from contracts under the Belt and Road Initiative, further worsening bilateral relations.

Going forward, Australia may lose the market of the world's biggest importer, as China continues to cut steel production and reduce reliance on imported iron ore, especially from Australia, analysts said.

On Wednesday, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued a notice saying that from November 15 to December 31, steel factories in Beijing, Tianjin and North China's Hebei Province should implement off-peak production, in order to reduce carbon emissions and overhaul the industry to tame a price surge.