Escalating bilateral tensions have resulted in China’s “unofficially” asking cotton and ore traders to stop buying products from Australia.
The Cotton Australia and the Australian Cotton Shippers Association, in a joint statement on Friday, said that China’s National Development Reform Commission has been recently “discouraging” their spinning mills from using Australian cotton.
Earlier, Beijing had reportedly suspended ore imports from Australia.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison recently said: “It’s not uncommon for China to suspend coal imports.” Canberra is probing the latest moves by Beijing.
However, there has been no official confirmation from the Chinese side over the issue.
Also, the bilateral tensions triggered separate investigations by Beijing into Australia’s wine export and dumping allegations.
China is one of the most important destinations for Australia’s ore and wine.
The ongoing tensions were triggered after Canberra started seeking a probe into the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the novel coronavirus which was first reported in China’s Wuhan city last December.
Similar demands have been made by the US and other western allies of Canberra, frustrating Beijing.
The demand led the Chinese diplomats in Australia hinting at “economic coercion” of Australian goods by Chinese companies.
“The Chinese public is frustrated, dismayed and disappointed with what Australia is doing now,” Chinese Ambassador Jingye Cheng had said early in April, responding to a question on Canberra’s probe push.
The Cotton Australia and the Australian Cotton Shippers Association, however, asserted that their relationship with China “is of importance to us”.
“The Australian cotton industry will continue having meaningful conversations with stakeholders to fully understand this situation, and we will continue working with the Australian government to respectfully and meaningfully engage with China to find a resolution,” the statement added.