China-Australia Free Trade Agreement unaffected by dialogue decision

Sheep Central, May 19, 2021

SUSPENSION of the strategic economic dialogue between Australia and China is not expected to affect the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, according to the Department of Agriculture Water and the Environment.

The National Development and Reform Commission of the People’s Republic of China recently suspended indefinitely the China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue claiming that Australian Government officials had launched “a series of measures to disrupt the normal exchanges and cooperation between China and Australia out of Cold War mindset and ideological discrimination.”

The move has complicated the resumption of lamb exports to China from two Victorian lamb plants at Colac and Brooklyn, but has not affected the continued strong demand for wool from Australia, and industry-to-industry communication has continued.

A departmental spokesperson said the Australian Government is disappointed with China’s decision to suspend cooperation under the Strategic Economic Dialogue.

“Australia wants a constructive relationship with China where we can discuss our differences and work together where this is possible.

“ChAFTA commitments are separate to the Strategic Economic Dialogue and China’s suspension decision does not affect our access for wool or sheep meat,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said two meat establishments, and one dairy establishment, voluntarily suspended exports following previous COVID-19 cases in on site workers in July and August 2020.

“Despite these incidents being resolved, China has not yet lifted the suspensions or allowed trade to resume.

“The Australian Government has also sought to resolve this matter and continues to raise this matter with China, at a technical and regulatory level, and in WTO committees,” the spokesperson said.

“ChAFTA commitments are separate to the Strategic Economic Dialogue and the Australian Government expects that China will continue to conduct trade in line with its free trade and international obligations.”


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  1. Neil Barrie, May 19, 2021

    China /Australia Free Trade Agreement? Since when did free trade between aligned business partners involve the episodic tariff on product/s by one party at the expense of the other, merely to punish the other party for not compromising on matters of national sovereignty. Seems neither a free nor agreed method of doing business. It is wise that Australia pursues other trading partners who more closely share our values of respect and equity.

    • Donald Cameron, May 20, 2021

      This is about provocative behaviour by our PM. This is about our PM not using our hugely expensive diplomat corps and instead crudely bashing China. This is not about national sovereignty. How did you introduce that line into the debate?

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