Coronavirus investigation just a flash point

China blow not exactly trouble in paradise

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Observers have been telling Australians for a while we are too reliant of China, and now that has been vindicated.

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One could be easily forgiven for being confused by the recent escalations in Australia-Chinese tensions.

Watching the beef and barley headlines pop up across the news, it could be easy to think the coronavirus investigation motion at the World Health Assembly was the sole impetus for China to impose its 73.6 per cent anti-dumping and 6.9pc anti-subsidy tariffs on Australian barley.

But it was really just the latest in a series of events that have been nibbling away at the Australia/China relationship.

On the surface, it has also been confused further by the politicking. China's President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump both decided to publicly back Australia's push for the probe, but they did so after this week's WHA vote.

Yet, Trump has not only halted the US's funding to the World Health Organisation, but has also threatened to make that withdrawal permanent, so he's not exactly putting his money where his mouth is given the WHO will need to somehow fund this pending investigation.

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And China hasn't been a fan of Australia since August 2018 when the Australian Government banned high risk vendors from building our 5G network. That included the Chinese-owned Huawei.

The timing of the coronavirus motion vote was also uncanny, landing on the deadline set by the World Trade Organisation for China's anti-dumping investigation of May 19, 2020 - that investigation meanwhile having kicked off around the time of Australia's 5G decision.

So had the date for the motion not coincided with the WTO's deadline, would the same outcome still have been reached?

Probably.

Along with the above factors causing tension, China has also concurrently been working on trade deals - mainly with superpowers with which it needs to balance trade.

In January, the US and China signed phase one of their new trade deal, which among other things, allowed the importation of US beef and barley into China.

And in June last year, China and Russia had also signed multiple trade deals to the tune of $20 billion and in February, Russian beef gained access to the Chinese market.

So the coronavirus investigation has really just been a flash point.

Observers have been telling Australians for a while we are too reliant of China, and now that has been vindicated.

The story Coronavirus investigation just a flash point first appeared on The Rural.

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