What Does China’s Move To Block Australian Imports Tell Us About Its Trade War With Trump?

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So Australia has called for an investigation into China’s role in the coronavirus’ spread worldwide, and now China has hit back by moving to ban imports of Australian barley and beef. At least that’s what’s being reported by various news outlets. Many ‘experts’ and media pundits have been sympathetic towards the Chinese government during its ongoing trade dispute with the U.S.; a dispute most have blamed on President Donald Trump.

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But China’s response to the Australian government’s desire to investigate the worldwide spread of the coronavirus, suggests that the communist country has not been this beacon of fair trade who the “racist” “Orange Man Bad” treats unfairly; as the media tries to portray it.

On the contrary, China is not averse to using its own economic might to force countries; even as large as Australia, to bend the proverbial knee.

Earlier today, the Asia Times website reported that “Australian Trade Minister Simon Birmingham is seeking talks with counterpart Zhong Shan after Beijing moved earlier this week to block imports of Australian barley and beef.”  

Birmingham said: “You’ve got hundreds of thousands of people who’ve died, millions who’ve lost their jobs and billions who’ve had their lives disrupted, the least the world can expect is that there be an investigation and Australia’s far from a lone voice in advancing that,”.

Clearly, Australia thinks this move by Beijing is in response to its call for a coronavirus probe. However, China claims different. Asia Times reports that “China has cited alleged technical breaches of trade rules for its decision on Tuesday to suspend beef shipments from four meat abbatoirs, including one with Chinese ownership, and its earlier threat to slap higher duties on Australian barley exports.”

Related: Trump, WHO, China & the Coronavirus

But as the reports adds: “Beijing has used apparent technical trade violations in the past as a political and diplomatic lever, and had issued veiled threats of reprisals in late April over Canberra’s call for a virus probe.”

But whether China is doing this over Australia’s call for a coronavirus inquiry, or because of alleged Australian breaches of trade rules; it doesn’t take away from the fact that China is not averse to using the very tactics the Western media have maligned Trump for.

And this isn’t only happening between China and Australia. As this CNBC report states: “China’s relations with the U.K. are also appearing strained, with the U.K.’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab saying that Britain cannot return to “business as usual” with China in the aftermath of the pandemic. He said the U.K. wants a global “deep dive” investigation into the origins of the outbreak.”

Another country calling for an investigation into the virus; another country China has “strained relations” with.

Which brings us back to the question of who’s to blame for the recent trade war between the U.S. and China.

Marc Thiessen argues that “Those who suggest Trump started this trade war with China have it backward. Beijing has been waging economic warfare on the United States for years — stealing our intellectual property, forcing our companies to transfer technology as a price of doing business in China and subsidizing state-owned enterprises to prevent U.S. businesses from competing in dozens of sectors of the Chinese economy.”

Thiessen adds that with Trump, “The difference now is Chinese leaders are facing a president who is willing to fight back.”

There’s no doubt based on the historical precedent, that China has been and continues to be extra aggressive on the world trade front. Blaming Trump for engaging in a trade war with China, when that country is currently involved in trade disputes with myriad countries; is not just convenient, but is a cop-out typical of the left.

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Dean Nestor

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