China Trade War? Let’s Just Give Up! By Peter West

     I do not see all of this going too far; once the sacred trade dollar is threatened, particularly education and primary production, Australia will back down. After all, economics always triumphs over principles, as money is the bottom line:

“The risk of escalating action by China to restrict our farmers’ ¬access to its massive market would pose a “substantial” threat to Australian agricultural exports worth close to $17bn. Fears of a one-sided “trade war” emerging between Australia and the communist country have heightened this week, after China suspended meat imports from four Australian abattoirs and threatened to slap tariffs of more than 70 per cent on barley as soon as this weekend. Agricultural, forestry and fishery exporters are particularly reliant on the Chinese market. The sector sent just under a third of all its exports, by value, to China last year — $16.8bn of the $53bn total international sales for the year, ¬according to Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade data. In comparison, manufactured goods exporters sell less overseas and are also relatively less reliant on our largest trading partner. There were $6.1bn worth of manufactured goods exports to China last year, accounting for only a tenth of that sector’s total. CBA agricultural commodity strategist Tobin Gorey said the risk of rising Chinese protectionism was “a substantial threat” to the sector and that China was “a big market for beef”. Australian producers sold $2.7bn worth of beef to China last year, or a quarter of the $10.8bn total export sales for the year, ¬according to the DFAT data. Barley sales to China were worth a much smaller $600m last year, but that accounted for a much larger share of the $1bn in total barley overseas sales, showing how vulnerable the industry is to adverse Chinese trade rulings.”

“The Chinese government has threatened to slap Australian barley producers with tariffs of up to 80 per cent as relations between Beijing and Canberra continue to sour. China’s Ministry of Commerce has given the nation’s barley producers 10 days to respond to an anti-dumping investigation that’s been conducted into Australian grain imports since 2010. China has alleged that Australian farmers produced barley at a price lower than its “normal” level between 2014 and 2016, and is now considering two separate tariffs of 73.6 per cent and 6.9 per cent on Australian barley exported to China. Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said the move is deeply concerning and has “no justification”. He said the government is working with the Australian grains industry to mount the strongest possible case against China’s 18-month anti-dumping investigation. “Every country has a right to apply tariffs in relation to matters of dumping,” Senator Birmingham told reporters in Canberra on Sunday. “But we are quite clear and firm in our view that there is no justification to find that Australia’s farmers and barley producers are subsidised or are dumping their product in such ways.”

“Australia has secured strong global backing for an independent inquiry into the coronavirus, with 62 nations coming together to co-sponsor a motion calling for the review at the World Health Assembly on Tuesday. The new draft resolution updates an earlier EU version with significantly toughened language, and is backed by key nations including India, Japan, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, Indonesia, Russia, and all 27 EU member states. It demands WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus “initiate at the earliest appropriate moment … a stepwise process of impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation” of the international response to the pandemic, the actions of the WHO and its “timeline” of the pandemic. The international support for the motion will infuriate Beijing, which has threatened Australian beef and barley exports to China over the Morrison government’s pursuit of the probe. The surging international support for the push comes amid growing economic and human devastation from the virus that has now infected more than 4.6 million people and killed more than 312,000. Foreign Minister Marise Payne said the world wanted answers on the COVID-19 crisis to avoid similar disasters in the ¬future. “There is positive support for an independent review into the pandemic to help the world learn the lessons necessary to protect global health,” Senator Payne told The Australian.

“The relationship between the US and China was already teetering close to the edge of a cliff before COVID-19, but the pandemic pushed it right off. The dynamic between Beijing and Washington has become so contentious in the coronavirus era that China experts now say the two major powers have stumbled into the early days of a new Cold War that could prolong the pandemic, exacerbate the economic devastation linked to the virus, and weaken the world’s ability to thwart common threats. “We’re essentially in the beginnings of a Cold War,” Orville Schell, the director of the Centre on US-China Relations at the Asia Society, told Insider. “We are on a downward slide into something increasingly adversarial with China.” Schell added: “The consequences of the breakdown in US-China relations is going to be very grave for the world and for the global economy because the ability of the US and China to work together was the keystone of the whole arch of globalization and global trade. With that pulled out, there’s going to be a tremendous amount of disturbance.” The Cold War analogy is “not perfect, but there are elements, including the hardening of system-type competition, ratcheting up of military competition, and pressure to delink economically, that were not as evident a few years ago,” Elizabeth Economy, the director for Asia studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, told Insider. “The reality is that tensions between the United States and China are rising considerably at the moment,” Clete Willems, the White House’s former top trade negotiator, told CNBC earlier this month. “I know people get uncomfortable with the terminology, but I do think we have to be honest and call this what it is, and this is the start of a new Cold War. And if we’re not careful, things could get much, much worse,” Willems, who left the Trump administration last year, added.”

     We may not like it, but Australia is small and weak, and basically at the mercy of China, so I guess we need to go down on bended knee and pray for forgiveness. Think of our farmers. Does it really matter now if China did unleash a virus? With our economy going down the drain, we need to do all we can to rebuild. Principles can wait in the background.



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Thursday, 01 December 2022