China Blasts Australia as 'Dog of America' as CPC Moves to Impose Mega Food Tariffs
Chinese government set to target Aussie dairy, wine, and seafood industries
The Communist Party of China (CPC) has blasted Australia as the "dog of America" as the Chinese government is set to target the Australian economy by imposing huge tariffs on dairy, wine, and seafood, according to reports.
Tensions have been mounting between the two countries since Australia joined global calls for an investigation into China's handling of the coronavirus outbreak.
After slapping tariffs on barley and banning some beef imports amid mounting tensions, China has now reportedly drawn up a list of more Australian industries to target.
According to a Bloomberg article, citing sources "familiar with the matter," wine, dairy, seafood, oatmeal, and fruit exporters are next in line to be hit with new tariffs, customs rules, or quality checks to make selling into China more difficult.
The move would cost the Australian economy billions and likely result in thousands of job losses.
Australian companies export around $1billion worth of dairy, $1.3billion of wine, and $658million of seafood to China every year.
Meanwhile, the Chinese government-controlled newspaper the Global Times, which is considered a mouthpiece for the ruling Communist Party, stoked tensions Tuesday by quoting Chinese citizens who called Australia "a giant kangaroo that serves as a dog of the US."
The Global Times article ran comments from social media users accusing Australia of pandering to the US by calling for an inquiry into the virus after President Trump investigated whether it spawned in a lab in Wuhan.
"Australia will hit a deadlock with China on trade disputes in sectors like coal and beef. Hopefully, the US will compensate it," one Weibo user wrote.
A separate Global Times article quoted a Chinese academic who said a new 80 percent tariff on Aussie barley, which may cripple some farmers, was a warning message that could be followed by "more actions."
Yu Lei, a researcher at Liaocheng University, said the tariff was a "mild warning to Australia that it should think about what a trade partner should do."
Referring to recent tensions over coronavirus, China's territorial claims in the South China Sea, and a ban on Huawei 5G equipment, he said: "What Australia has done in recent years is not what a partner should do."
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Last week China suspended imports from four Australian beef suppliers for 30 days over alleged labeling issues.
Critics including Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce have said China is seeking to punish Australia for calling for an inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus.
A spokesman for China's foreign ministry said: "China has always sought to find common ground while putting differences aside, cooperate to achieve win-win results and will not harm others to benefit oneself.
"We hope the Australian and Chinese side can meet in the middle, take more measures to improve bilateral relations and deepen mutual trust and provide favorable conditions and atmosphere for practical cooperation in various areas."
The latest difficulties in the bilateral trade relationship followed the Australian government's call for a ban on wildlife wet markets and an inquiry into how the coronavirus originated and spread from Wuhan.
The proposal - as well as repeated suggestions that China covered up the spread of the disease - has infuriated Beijing.
Last month the Chinese Embassy called Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton "pitiful," "ignorant" and a US "parrot" after he told China to "answer questions" about how coronavirus started.
On April 26 Chinese Ambassador to Australia Jingye Cheng warned that Chinese consumers may stop buying Australian products in revenge.
"Maybe the ordinary people will think why they should drink Australian wine or eat Australian beef," he told the AFR.
The dispute comes after a torrid year for Australia-China relations saw clashes over political interference, human rights abuses in western China, and Huawei 5G equipment.
One-third of Australia's exports - including iron ore, gas, coal, and food - go to China, bringing in around $135billion per year.