The cotton industry in Australia fears it will be Beijing’s next target in the growing trade tensions between the two countries. The industry expressed concern on Friday that it saw changes in export conditions.
Two industry associations, Cotton Australia and Cotton Shippers Association, jointly said in a statement Friday that they were aware of changes in the conditions for exporting Australian cotton to China.
“It is clear that the National Development Reform Commission in China recently discouraged the country’s weavers from using Australian cotton,” the joint statement said. The two domes say they are working with the Australian government to “investigate the situation in order to fully understand what is happening.”
An Australian government source quoted by Australian public media ABC says the industry could face tariffs in the order of 40%.
Almost 65% of Australia’s cotton production is exported to China, worth nearly $ 2 billion.
Australian Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said he was aware of the situation and expected more information from Chinese authorities. He warned of a potential violation of China’s international commitments to fair competition internationally.
Relations between Beijing and Canberra are at their lowest this year, after Australia’s support for the opening of an investigation into the origin of the coronavirus in China, as demanded by the US.
In recent months, China has placed trade restrictions on Australian wine, beef and wheat.