The comments from Ho, who is the wife of Hong Kong’s Continental Affairs Minister Erick Tsang, are the first official remarks that suggest the targeting of Australian lobsters was motivated by political interests, not health concerns. or contamination, as Beijing first asserted last October.
Thousands of tonnes of lobster washed up on the tarmac at Chinese airports in October and November for tighter COVID-19 control measures. They were later banned for fear of high traces of minerals and metals, which the Australian lobster industry has denied..
Australia’s largest exporter, Geraldton Fishermen’s Cooperative, and Peak Body Seafood Industry Australia have been contacted for comment.
The sudden restrictions on lobster exports followed rising tensions over Australia’s call for a coronavirus investigation and disputes over national security and human rights. Australian beef, barley, wine and timber also faced similar allegations of labeling, pests, dumping and coronavirus contamination by Chinese customs before they were effectively excluded from the market. Chinese. Chinese importers have also been urged to stop importing Australian coal, putting a target on more than $ 20 billion in Australian exports.
Beef and barley trade sanctions now subject to World Trade Organization agreement [WTO] complaint by Australia, which claims that China is in breach of its obligations.
Australia’s Ambassador to the organization, George Mina, accused China of hypocrisy during a hearing on China’s trade policy on Wednesday.
“China has assured members of its commitment to the rules-based order, but from our perspective, there is a growing gap between China’s rhetoric and its actions,” he said.
“The implications of China’s actions go beyond their impact on Australian exporters – they increase the risk and uncertainty of the Chinese market for the global business community.”
China has asked to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a giant trade bloc that covers the Indo-Pacific, but Australia’s Trade Minister Dan Tehan said in September that any country wishing to join would have to comply with all rules and standards. of free trade.
“While there are clearly challenges in our relationship which should not overshadow the strong mutual interests in bilateral trade and investment relations,” he said.
“We want a constructive relationship with China and we remain open to sit down and overcome our differences. “
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