Keep quiet or become a collateral damage -- China's message to Australia is quite clear

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India May 27, 2020, 11.36 PM(IST) Edited By: Palki Sharma

Barley tariffs Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Australia vehemently backed the United States in questioning China over the actions it took in the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak. China was also angered by Australia’s call for an independent inquiry into the origins of coronavirus.

China's latest ties with Australia has been an example of "keep quiet or become a collateral damage."

Australia vehemently backed the United States in questioning China over the actions it took in the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak. China was also angered by Australia’s call for an independent inquiry into the origins of coronavirus.

Already reeling under the double whammy, China added to tensions with Australia by announcing anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties totalling 80.5% on Australian barley imports from May 19, halting a billion-dollar trade between them.

China’s Ministry of Commerce said it had confirmed dumping by Australia and significant damage on its domestic industry as a result, following an inquiry which began in 2018.

The Chinese ministry said duties of 73.6% would be levied on all companies, including four named exporters, The Iluka Trust, Kalgan Nominees Pty. Ltd, JW&JI Mcdonald & Sons and Haycroft Enterprises, as well as an anti-subsidy duty of 6.9%.

Australia is the biggest barley supplier to China, exporting about A$1.5 billion to A$2 billion ($980 million to $1.3 billion) worth a year, which is more than half its exports.

Days later, Beijing also suspended imports from four of Australia’s largest meat processors, worth about 20% of Canberra’s beef exports to China.

In all this, China's message to Australia was quite clear. Beijing will punish Canberra more harshly than it did with Washington -- simply because it is less economically dependent on the former.