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Farmers are worried about escalation of the trade row between Australia and China over coronavirus

Farmers are worried about the escalation of the trade row between Australia and China as coronavirus tensions threaten to boil over

  • The National Farmer’s Federation says farmers are worried trade war will expand
  • China banned imports from four beef suppliers this week, and is threatening to impose an 80 per cent tariff on Australian barley imports 
  • Commodities like cotton, seafood and wool all depend on the Chinese market 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Australian farmers are afraid tensions between China and Australia could start to impact other exports.

China is threatening to slap a large tariff on its barley imports from Australia following an anti-dumping investigation, while it has blocked beef imports from four Australian abattoirs. 

National Farmer’s Federation President Fiona Simpson told ABC News that China is an incredibly important market for Australia.

Australian farmers are afraid tensions between China and Australia could start to impact other exports 

National Farmer's Federation President Fiona Simpson told ABC News China is an incredibly important market for Australia

National Farmer’s Federation President Fiona Simpson told ABC News China is an incredibly important market for Australia

‘It’s a big market, not just for beef and barley, but for a number of other commodities as well,’ she said.

‘Farmers are worried’. 

Commodities like wool, cotton and seafood all depend on the Chinese market.  

Ms Simpson said the investigation into barley dumping has been in place for 18 months, and concerns around the beef industry are based on  a technicality around labelling, something that has been an issue in the past.

Despite this, she said resolving trade tensions during a pandemic are tough because communication is limited. 

Australia’s biggest trading partners

1. China: 25.2 per cent

2. Japan: 10.1 per cent

3. United States: 8.7 per cent

4. South Korea: 4.8 per cent

5. Singapore: 3.8 per cent

6. India: 3.6 per cent

7. New Zealand: 3.4 per cent

8. United Kingdom: 3.2 per cent’

9. Thailand: 3.0 per cent

10. Malaysia: 2.8 per cent

Source: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade data on market share for two-way trading partners as of 2018 

‘It is sometimes tricky to work through some of the differences and makes it harder when we can’t just jump on a plane and talk to people face-to-face,’ she said.

‘So I think it’s concerning if these sorts of shock waves and threats do actually start to come.

‘And so we need to make sure that the government is continuing to invest, continuing to talk, continuing to work through these difficulties.’

Trade tensions follow calls from Australian Prime Minister Scot Morrison for an inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, sparking a furious response from China. 

Mr Morrison said the push for an independent inquiry into the COVID-19 crisis is ‘completely unremarkable’ and Australia will stand its ground.

But China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi has lashed out at foreign politicians for politicising the epidemic.

Commodities like wool, cotton and seafood all depend on the Chinese market (stock image)

Commodities like wool, cotton and seafood all depend on the Chinese market (stock image)

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk