So now China has placed an indefinite ban on imports of timber from Victoria. This is not surprising, and it would seem China has “legitimate” biosecurity reasons for imposing the ban. Source: Bruce Mitchell
Chinese authorities claimed shipments were infected with the live bark beetle.
Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud conceded that there is concern around the effectiveness of fumigation treatments on shipments of bushfire-affected logs.
Of course, if bark beetle is present, that is indeed a legitimate reason to suspend trade.
Australia is very protective of its “green” image and we justifiably protect our borders vigorously.
That makes it a little hard for the Federal Government to criticise China for ostensibly doing the same thing.
But let’s identify this ban for what it is. It is simply bullying tactics and CFMEU secretary Michael O’Connor has had the fortitude to call it out as such.
China has had a beef with Australia over a number of issues for some time; Australia’s 2018 ban on Chinese Huawei Technologies over national security concerns, Canberra’s support for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s push for an international inquiry in the origins of CoVid19.
And of course, our closeness to the United State and President Trump. It has been suggested in the Global Times, a Chinese state-controlled tabloid that the impending change in the situation in the USA might just help alleviate the situation for Australia.
“It is no secret that Australia has been under US influence for a long time, and the US has played a role in a series of political confrontations between China and Australia,” the Global Times said.
The newspaper said that it was now generally expected the new administration’s China policy could face an adjustment “compared with the Donald Trump era”, meaning that US-China friction over a range of political and economic issues could ease because of the different administration styles.
“So, when the US-China relationship is about to see some changes, there may be also a window for adjustment to the bilateral relationship between China and Australia,” the newspaper said.
Slightly reassuring comments.
In the meantime, everyone in Australia’s timber industry is very nervous, everyone is very quiet.
Everyone seems worried about upsetting China.
The various timber industry organisations and politicians who can usually be counted on to voice an opinion have gone very, very quiet.
Everyone, apart from the CFMEU.