Source: Global Times
China Australia. Photo: VCG
The Australian government announced it would challenge China at the World Trade Organization over alleged hefty anti-dumping and anti-subsidy tariffs imposed by Beijing on Australian barley exports.
In view of fierce frictions between the two countries, it’s no surprise that Australia has taken such action. It’s believed Beijing must have prepared for this and has the confidence to win the suit.
Amid constantly strained China-Australia political ties, Australia labels Chinese anti-dumping and anti-subsidy tariffs on Australian products as “political retaliation.” But China insists that trade is trade, and accuses Australia of politicizing economic and trade matters.
The evidence supports Beijing. Australia was the first country to ban Chinese tech company Huawei from the 5G rollout using security as an excuse. Since 2018, it has turned down a dozen Chinese investment projects. So far, Australia has launched as many as 106 anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations against Chinese products, while China only initiated four against Australia.
Intensifying China-Australia conflicts will be detrimental to the steady development of bilateral trade. It will motivate both sides to take legal means to crack down on the other side’s products. Provisions of trade agreements cannot be detailed enough to cover all commodity exchanges. A friendly atmosphere serves as an important condition for the steady advancement of trade. Without it, trade frictions within the framework of laws and rules will be an endless stream.
The problem with Australia is that it is the disrupter of China-Australia political relations, which is obvious to all. But it seems Canberra has taken destroying relations with Beijing in a high-profile manner as a chance to show its loyalty and commitment to strengthen the US-Australia alliance.
Australia has taken the lead in jeopardizing normal economic and trade exchanges with China, viewing bilateral cooperation through the lens of national security and ideology, and overthrowing the trade principles formed between the two for a long time.
China has exercised restraint. So far, Beijing has never used “national security” to obstruct cooperative projects between China and Australia which benefit Australia. China has never declared or indicated any “sanctions” on Australia, while there have been multiple examples where the US and the West impose sanctions on other countries simply for political reasons.
China’s anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations into Australian barley and wine are carried out in accordance with rules. There is no political implication. The yelling from Australia is more than an approach of self-protection through legal means – it’s a typical political show.
We want to advise Canberra: Please take it as a real trade dispute at the WTO, rather than make it a farce with its prime minister, members of parliament, and media all involved and discuss whether Australia should strike a counterattack on China through iron ore trade. Isn’t it a lawsuit? China will respond in accordance with rules and settle it with Australia within rules.
Australia has stupidly turned itself to the frontline of China-West confrontation. It believes China will feel awe to it and the Western world will offer support. But the frictions between China and the West are different from those between China and the US in terms of both nature and intensity. Australia’s expectations of China and the West’s responses are wishful thinking.
Australia has staged many petty actions, including vanity, timidity, pretentiousness and double dealing. Perhaps some Australians think as long as the US is with them, relations with China do not matter. But the Chinese people are more confident to disregard relations with Australia. Just face the WTO cases.