Australia’s top exporting state calls for resetting relations with China

Staff members discuss as they prepare for a seminar on bilateral Australia-China resource and infrastructure cooperation in Western Australia, in Beijing on July 23, 2009. REUTERS / Jason Lee

Australia’s largest exporting state on Tuesday urged Canberra to stop opposing China, the country’s main trading partner, in remarks amid mounting criticism of Beijing led by the United States, the country’s main ally. ‘Australia.

“It’s not about bowing down to other countries and giving in,” Western Australian Prime Minister Mark McGowan said at Australia’s largest oil and gas industry conference, which is held in Perth. “There has to be a national reset in this relationship.”

Ties with China deteriorated last year when Australia called for an independent investigation into the origins of the novel coronavirus, which sparked trade retaliation from China, hitting Australian products ranging from barley and coal with lobster and wine.

Relations had already deteriorated after Australia banned Chinese tech giant Huawei from the country’s 5G network in 2018.

Urging the federal government to stop talking about conflict and trade retaliation, McGowan asked, “How is it in our best interests to be reckless with trade relationships that fund and advance our prosperity and our nation?”

McGowan’s comments came two days after Group of Seven leaders gathered in Britain to rebuke China on a wide range of issues, prompting an angry backlash from Beijing. Attending the G7 meeting as a guest, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison met with US President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to discuss Indo-Pacific security. Read more

Western Australia’s main exports, iron ore and liquefied natural gas (LNG), have so far escaped trade retaliation from China, as China is heavily dependent on Australian iron ore for its steel industry. and increasingly dependent on gas for power generation as it seeks to reduce coal emissions.

Western Australia exported A $ 104 billion ($ 80 billion) worth of goods to China in 2020, accounting for 71% of Australia’s merchandise exports to China.

($ 1 = Australian dollars 1.2990)

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