| 28 May 2024, Tuesday |

Australian Ambassador to Beijing: China ‘Unreliable Retaliatory Partner

Australia’s ambassador to Beijing described China as a “retaliatory and unreliable trading partner,” after Australian officials disclosed sharp declines in most exports to the Chinese market, which is considered the most important to Australia.

Ambassador Graham Fletcher told a Sino-Australian business group in an online briefing from Beijing that he did not know whether China was aware of the damage its business practices in Australia and internationally were causing.

“The Australian” newspaper and the “Australian Broadcasting Corp” group, on Friday, quoted Fletcher as saying that China “has been shown to be completely unreliable as a trading partner, and even as a vengeful partner.”

The diplomatic row between the two free trade partners has worsened since Australia called for an independent investigation into the coronavirus pandemic a year ago.

As for Australian exports of coal, wine, barley, cotton, lobsters and wood to China, they have been banned or suspended for reasons that are unclear.

China is unlikely to disrupt trade in iron ore, Australia’s most profitable export, while production in Brazil, Australia’s main competitor, is at risk due to the epidemic.

Due to the rise in iron ore prices, Australian Foreign Ministry officials told a Senate committee on Thursday that Australian exports to China fell by only 2% in value in the last six months of 2020, compared to the same period last year.