China imports 3,000 tonnes of Australian food

What trade tensions? China imports 3,000 tonnes of Australian lobster, salmon, meat and milk – after slapping tariffs on barley and banning beef

  • Government’s freight assistance scheme is sending food around the world 
  • 3,000 tonnes is heading for China, including lobster, milk and red meat
  • The scheme is a $110million plan to help Australian exporters during COVID
  • It comes as trade tensions with China escalate after Australia called for inquiry 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

China is importing 3,000 tonnes of Aussie food via the government’s freight assistance program despite slapping tariffs on barley and banning some beef after Australia called for a coronavirus inquiry.

The $110million scheme announced in April has arranged 1,048 flights to help Australian food companies ship their produce around the world at a time when commercial flights have decreased due to coronavirus.

Some 10,000 tonnes of produce have already been sent, with another 13,000 tonnes scheduled, reported The Australian.

China is importing 3,000 tonnes of Aussie food - including milk - via the government's freight assistance program

China is importing 3,000 tonnes of Aussie food – including milk – via the government’s freight assistance program

The huge amount of food that Australia is exporting also includes salmon

The huge amount of food that Australia is exporting also includes salmon

About 3,000 tonnes of produce are going to China, including salmon, rock lobster, pork and milk.

Other countries that will receive Australian products include Japan, Singapore, New Zealand, Thailand and Germany.

It comes after Beijing became infuriated by Australia’s calls for an independent inquiry into the origins of the virus, believing that it was a ‘malicious’ attempt to blame and ‘stigmatize’ China.

Mr Morrison was the first world leader to demand a ban on wildlife wet markets, where the virus may have originated, and said inspectors should be able to enter a country suffering from a pandemic without the government’s consent.

China slapped an 80 per cent tariff on Australian barley and suspended imports from four Australian beef suppliers in apparent revenge – and warned of further punishment.

About one third of Australia’s total exports – including iron ore, gas, coal and food – go to China, bringing in around $135billion per year and providing thousands of jobs. 

Last week fears of further retaliation were raised when China relaxed checks on iron-ore imports in a move that could favour Australia’s competitors.  

China slapped an 80 per cent tariff on Australian barley and suspended imports from four Australian beef suppliers - but it's still taking Aussie lobster

China slapped an 80 per cent tariff on Australian barley and suspended imports from four Australian beef suppliers – but it’s still taking Aussie lobster

Mr Morrison has called for a ban on wildlife wet markets. Pictured: Xihua Farmers' Market in Guangzhou

Mr Morrison has called for a ban on wildlife wet markets. Pictured: Xihua Farmers’ Market in Guangzhou

Australia is China’s largest iron-ore supplied, shipping $63billion worth in 2019. 

Last week the US said it would ban trade with 33 Chinese companies linked with spying or the Chinese military in a move that could signal the start of a ‘new cold war’, according to Chinese media.

State-controlled newspaper the Global Times threatened Australian with more economic sanctions if it backed the US in the matter.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said America ‘stands with Australia’.

Mr Morrison has repeatedly insisted the two countries are ‘great mates’ and their alliance is strong.

Trade minister tells wine and cheese exporters not to give China an excuse to ban their products

 The federal trade minister has told wine and cheese exporters not to give Beijing any excuse to ban their products after beef suppliers were blacklisted over a technicality. 

The federal government has denied barley tariffs and beef bans are payback for Australia’s demands for a coronavirus inquiry – but Trade Minister Simon Birmingham told Australian companies to make sure all their paper work is in order so that more industries cannot be targeted.

During an interview on 13 May, the ABC’s Patricia Karvelas asked him: ‘Australian wine and dairy producers are worried they could be next. What reassurances do you have that that won’t happen?’

Senator Birmingham replied: ‘Everyone at present should be, as they always should, dotting their Is and crossing their Ts and leaving no scope for any grievance to be raised.’

He said he could see no reason why wine or cheese industries would fall short of quarantine, health or labelling standards they need to meet to export to China.

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China’s new trade threat: Communist regime puts $16BILLION in natural gas exports on the line as it ramps up attacks on Australia over COVID inquiry 

Chinese state media has warned that Beijing could buy less Australian natural gas if tensions between the countries escalate. 

The communist superpower has imposed a tax on barley and banned some Aussie beef in apparent acts of retaliation after the Morrison government called for an inquiry into coronavirus.

On Tuesday night the state-controlled Global Times newspaper warned that Australian natural gas could be targeted next. 

Chinese state media has warned that Beijing could stop buying Australian natural gas if tensions between the countries escalate. Pictured: Chinese President Xi Jinping

Chinese state media has warned that Beijing could stop buying Australian natural gas if tensions between the countries escalate. Pictured: Chinese President Xi Jinping

Australia is China's biggest source of natural gas, providing three times as much as second-placed Qatar in the first quarter of this year

Australia is China’s biggest source of natural gas, providing three times as much as second-placed Qatar in the first quarter of this year

One analyst told the newspaper that China could buy more from Qatar and the US instead.  

‘Australia’s LNG market share in China is likely to fall in the coming years, ceding market share to the US and Qatar, should Canberra’s tensions with China continue,’ the analyst said.

In January Australia overtook Qatar to become the world’s largest exporter of gas with exports totalling $49 billion in 2019. Some $16billion of that went to China. 

The country has three major gas hubs in Karratha in Western Australia, Gladstone in central Queensland and Darwin in the Northern Territory.  

Last week fears of further retaliation were raised when China relaxed checks on iron-ore imports in a move that could favour Australia's competitors

Last week fears of further retaliation were raised when China relaxed checks on iron-ore imports in a move that could favour Australia’s competitors

Australia is China’s biggest source of natural gas, providing three times as much as second-placed Qatar in the first quarter of this year. 

Most of Australia’s gas exports to China are based long-term contracts – but many of these run out soon. 

Chinese analysts have warned that Australian exporters have lost their low-cost advantage and will face stiff competition from US suppliers.

This may be exacerbated by the China-US trade deal signed in January in which China agreed to buy $79 billion of energy exports from America over two years.

Chinese state-owned energy firms have secured an exemption from tariffs on US gas imports.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump welcome Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his wife Jenny to an official dinner at the White House September 20, 2019

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump welcome Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his wife Jenny to an official dinner at the White House September 20, 2019

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