Home Business Australia-China trade disputes in 2020

Australia-China trade disputes in 2020

A general view of a Australian flag is seen outside the Great Hall of the People on April 9, 2013 in Beijing, China.

Feng Li | Getty Images

China is Australia’s largest trading partner and a top export destination.

Australia is one of the few developed nations on Earth that exports more into China than it imports from China. In the 2018-2019 fiscal year, China took in about 32.6% of all Australian exports — that is about 153.2 billion Australian dollars ($116.79 billion). By far the largest export was iron ore.

The relationship between the two countries has deteriorated since Australia supported a call for an international inquiry into China’s handling of the coronavirus, which was first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Last month, Australian news outlets reported that the Chinese embassy there had threatened the Australian government and handed over a list of alleged grievances toward Canberra.

China has taken several measures this year that impede Australian imports, ranging from levying tariffs to imposing bans and restrictions. Here’s a look at the Australian export sectors being affected:


In May, Beijing slapped anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties to the tune of 80.5% against Australian barley — a move that effectively shut Australian barley producers out of the Chinese market. The Chinese commerce ministry claimed that an inquiry that began in 2018 confirmed Australia dumped barley, which allegedly led to significant damage to China’s domestic industry, Reuters reported.

Australian government officials have denied the allegations and said the country’s farmers are some of the least subsidized among OECD nations. Canberra has also asked the World Trade Organization to mediate in the dispute. Experts expect that dispute to take some time to resolve.


Penfolds Grange red wines at a special re-corking clinic in Sydney, July 12, 2006.

Greg Wood | AFP | Getty Images

Red meat




A coal pit of the Hazelwood coal-fired power plant stands in Hazelwood, Australia, on Thursday, March 30, 2017.

Carla Gottgens | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Coal is Australia’s third-largest export to China. But the percentage of coal exports to China has been shrinking over the years, according to analysts who say Australian exporters have found additional buyers in places like South Korea, Vietnam and Japan.


Iron ore, education, tourism