The scary picture of a failed Australia-China trade relations ?

Sep 29, 2020

The mainstream newspapers in Australia do not shed much light about the real situation of the Cold trade war between Australia and China. If we look hard enough, we may find factual reporting about this subject in an English language published off-shore, in Hong Kong.

The information received from the Murdoch press and other MSM in Australia, sadly including our tax payers funded ABC and SBS tend to blame China only. The biased news has misguided a lot of innocent and uniformed Australians leading to their obsessive distrust of China and Chinese people.

Instead of reporting objectively as any independent media should do, they tend to focus on the negative aspects of the Australia-China relations, and presents an alarming and frightful perception of distant war drums in the South China Sea and all hot rhetoric of the US-China containment of China.

They use Chinese Communist Party this time as their scapegoat and instil fear into innocent and uninformed public using the old McCarthyism method, following almost every step of what US does.

We recommend our readers to follow some of the more independent news reporting from the US : World News Daily, Information Clearing House (News you won’t find on CNN or Fox News), and Australian owned John Menaude \: and

In scanning through some Asian English language newspapers in Asia, we came across two articles written by Su Lin Tan, a journalist for the South China Morning Post (23 Sep2020) and former reporter for the Australian Financial Times, who presented a more informative, objective and balance articles on the Australia-China relations. These articles are like the “please explain:” special columns which deals specific subjects of public interest.

Prior to the reading of Su Lin Tan’s article, one would have the perception that the Australia-China relations has frozen and economic decoupling could occur any moment given the “bad” trade relations we have.

A short but interesting chronology of the Australia-China trade war in 2020 and information not found in the Australia media are presented as follows:

“Australia imposes dumping duties on Chinese aluminium extrusions (17Feb), stainless steel sinks (28Feb), pipe & tubular steel (31Mar), dumping investigation on A4 copy paper (16Apr); and started probe into the origins of covid-1 9(21Apr). In return, China bans 4 Australian meat processing plants (11May). Australia continues to impose anti-dumping duties on Chinese silicon metal (13May) and China impose 80.5% tariff on Australian barley exports (18 May). Australia initiates anti-dumping investigation on steel strapping (27May), Al-Zn coated steel (30 June), steel reinforcing bars (10July), Cooper tubes (13July) and Steel coils (27July). In return, China starting anti-dumping investigation on Australian wines (18 Aug), failed to acquire Kirin blocked by Australia (25Aug) and started investigation into subsidized Australian wine imports (31 Aug) and halts barley import (31Aug). ”

Despite these tit-for-tat “cold trade war” stuff, the headline in SCMP written by Su Lin Tan said “China-Australia trade ties remain strong for some business despite worsening political relations”. This statement is comforting but it raises the question, “why the anomaly” as most pundits would predict that the economic decoupling between Australia-China is a sure thing!

The report said “Volume of Australian shipments of beef to China in the first half of the year kept pace with last year, and Australian wine exports are moving along despite investigations. While some traditional exports have been hit, other trade segments, including services and e-commerce consumer goods are roaring”.

I believe the articles filled in a lot of void left unsaid in the Australian press and we would like to present these voids in the form of questions asked:

Has Australia “painted itself into a geopolitical corner” with China, and what is Beijing’s trade end game? Or China has called Australia’s bluff and has Canberra painted itself into a geopolitical corner?”.

Is it true that China does not oppose Australia’s alliance with the US as long as it does not put China’s national interests at risk?

Is it reasonable to say that China is more likely to listen to outside criticism if they are conveyed privately?

Would you agree that the actions taken by the US and Australia in the past months are not only ineffective, but also pointless and ultimately needless?

Would you agree that Australia and China cooperation is too valuable for “nonsensical decoupling?

Despite the optimism showed by Su Lin Tan’s article, there is still a nagging thought in people’s mind about the enormous amount of trade between Australia and China to the tune of $240 billion per annum which include the $80 billion iron ore export. Would it be unthinkable that when China finds a new source for the iron ore, it would buy it totally from the new source?

When this unthinkable event happens, we may lose up to 1/3 or more of our export income as China’s economy decline will also affect many other countries around the world including USA eventually. Can you imagine how it would affect our economy? And where are we going to find $38.7 billion for our defence budget and many more for our welfare, healthcare, education and pension etc?

As Kishore Mahbubani said “Iron ore will be a nuclear weapon for China. China will look for alternatives”.

The reader should read these articles in the World Daily News Information Clearing House, John Menadue Blog and SCMP for independent news and comments so that we would not be fooled or coerced by fear and mis-information and would surely come to the conclusion that to maintain economic growth post covid-19 recovery, Australia must come to a decision to repair the damaged Australia-China relations and restore our healthy and prosperous bi-lateral trade with China in order to maintain our economic growth post COVID recovery.

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