China’s trade war with Australia “was meant to be China’s moment” but turned out to be a “spectacular failure.” Furthermore, Australia has become an example for other countries to break ties with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its economic bullying, wrote freelance journalist Jamie Seidel on News.com.
After Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for an investigation into the origin of COVID-19 in April 2020, the CCP used the excuses of anti-dumping, hygiene, and quality challenges to impose high tariffs on various Australian-made products.
The United States called such a movement “economic coercion,” while Seidel wrote that its purpose was to silence the prime minister and “set an example of what happens to nations that contradict the CCP.”
He pointed out that eighteen months after the trade war with China, Australia’s economy was not much affected. He cited Kurt Campbell, affairs advisor of the U.S. National Security Council Indo-Pacific, saying that China’s intention to break and “drive Australia to its knees” was unlikely to play out.
The Australian Treasury’s statistics showed the CCP’s “economic coercion” caused roughly 5.4 billion AUD economic damage. However, Australia gained at least 4.4 billion in revenue in other new markets.
According to Jeffrey Wilson, research director at the Perth U.S. Asia Center, China imported coal from Russia and Indonesia instead of Australia as an economic punishment. Despite that, old customers of those two countries, like South Korea and Japan, turned to Australia for coal. Therefore, Australia’s coal export profits remained unaffected.
Dr. Wilson said that such a situation was “not exactly the effect China had in mind,” though the “adjustment process is not pain-free, it is far less costly.”
Aside from the two countries’ differences “on values and human rights,” Dr. Wilson said, “Australia is concerned by China’s increasingly belligerent behavior in the Indo-Pacific.” Meanwhile, the dictatorial regime viewed “it as Australia’s anti-China stance,” which Seidel considered the main reason that fractured “China-Australia” relationships.
He wrote that Canberra no longer hoped China would become “a more open and tolerant society.” At the same time, China could no longer expect Canberra to silence “by self-interest, with tens of billions of dollars worth of trade being used as political leverage.”
Seidel ended his commentary with Dr. Wilson’s statement, saying, “Australia’s experience offers an important lesson: Trade decoupling does not automatically mean trade destruction. Indeed, Australia’s resilience may now be inspiring others to take a stand.”