Share of Australian agricultural products in China drops amid frosty bilateral ties


Photo: VCG

The harvest of Australian cotton production, which was once worth A $ 800 million ($ 614 million) per year, is now in jeopardy due to the loss of the Chinese market amid frosty bilateral ties.

They are eager to seek new markets, but have found that cotton, just like other agricultural products such as wine and barley, appears to be squeezed out even further from the Chinese market – also the most important one – as strains enter. both show no sign of abating.

The China Cotton Association said on Thursday that in April, China imported 78,800 tonnes of Indian cotton, an increase of 66% from the previous month and an increase of 367% from the previous year.

Australian cotton, which was China’s second largest importer, is now only around 5%, down from 20% in November 2019. India is now China’s largest cotton exporter in April.

The drop in sales is also worrying the Australian industry, and ABC News reported on Thursday that the industry’s resurgence has been overshadowed by the loss of its largest market, China.

They are looking at places like Vietnam, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand and South Korea, and working hard to get into them, trying to replace cotton purchases from competitors like the United States and Brazil, according to the report.

An anonymous cotton industry insider told the Global Times on Friday that the decline from Australia was in part due to sufficient cotton reserves and changing demand, but Chinese spinners are taking a cautious stance to Australian cotton, given political disputes, and future purchases depend on its relationship with China.

Australian agricultural products, especially wine and barley, have suffered from the deterioration of relations between the two countries.

Australian winemakers shipped just A $ 12 million worth of wine to China from December to March, up from A $ 325 million a year earlier, Reuters reported, citing industry figures, after the anti-dumping investigation from China on Australian wine imports last year.

Chen Wei, an Australian wine merchant, said the company ditched wine from Australia from August last year and turned to Chilean wine and was also considering wine from Italy and France. .

ABC News reported on Friday that the Australian wine industry is preparing to appeal to the World Trade Organization (WTO) over Chinese tariffs, as winegrowers and winegrowers argue Beijing must be brought into the WTO after imposing crippling tariffs on Australian wine last year.

Australia is also said to have advanced in a WTO case against China’s tariffs on barley imports on Friday, as Trade Minister Dan Tehan said Canberra will ask the WTO to establish a settlement panel. dispute to consider the case, the next step in an attempt to get the tariffs declared illegal.

Australia’s barley exports to China were about A $ 1 billion per year, mostly used in brewing.

The Australian economy is heavily dependent on China. For the past 12 years, China has been Australia’s largest trading partner and China is Australia’s main export destination, but in the past two years the Morrison administration has attempted to reduce its dependence on China. AFP reported that even many in Canberra believe the sanctions are punishment for Australia for pushing back Beijing’s influence operations in the country.

However, “every tariff perception has its reasons, but Australia has always linked it to political disputes, playing the image of a victim of sympathy”, Yu Lei, chief researcher at the research center for countries Pacific Islanders from Liaocheng University in eastern China. Shandong province, the Global Times said on Friday.

“They disgust China,” Yu said.

Earlier in May, China’s leading economic planner announced that he was indefinitely suspending all activities under the China-Australia strategic economic dialogue, marking the first time that a diplomatic mechanism between the two countries has been frozen as a result of the deterioration of bilateral relations.

The move came after the Australian federal government, in what was seen as a provocative move against China, used so-called laws to revoke the agreements signed between the state of Victoria and China on the Belt Initiative. and Road (BRI).

Although agricultural trade accounts for only a limited part of Australia’s exports, the government is politicizing trade issues with China, and this undermines the public perception of Australia that was formed during decades, Yu warned.


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