ScoMo weighs in on China fears
Scott Morrison has responded to fears China could slap a wide-ranging trade ban on Australian products.
Exporters of seafood, red wine, copper ore, sugar, timber and barley are on alert following reports that products arriving after Friday will not be cleared by customs.
Beijing authorities rejected claims of a discriminatory ban, prompting the Prime Minister to say he would accept their response on "face value".
This is despite state-owned media reporting that a visit from Australia's ambassador to China, Graham Fletcher, came after "a halt on several categories of Australian goods".
But Mr Morrison said China denied any ban.
"I can only can take that at face value, out of the respect of the comprehensive strategic partnership we have with China," he said.
"Those issues are matters that the trade minister and I, obviously, have concerns about.
"(We) are working closely with industry to pursue the appropriate channels within the relationship … to get some clarity and some resolution."
Australia exports $1.07bn worth of wine to China and $3.4bn of copper.
The sweeping trade strike threatens to wipe millions from those and other industries.
China's state-sponsored Global Times wrote on Wednesday that Mr Fletcher's attendance at China's International Import Expo reflected Australia's "need for the Chinese market" amid worsening diplomatic ties.
"Analysts warned that Chinese consumers' confidence in Australian products would significantly drop if Australia continues to sabotage bilateral relations, which would cost Australia its best and biggest market, jobs and an opportunity to quickly recover from the pandemic," it wrote.
East China Normal University Australian Studies Centre director Chen Hong told the outlet that if Australia continued to sabotage bilateral relations, "it will pay an unbearable price".
"Australia has been releasing messages urging its business community and international education community to 'diversify' its market, which encourages and promotes the so-called 'decoupling' from China," he said in the report.
Originally published as ScoMo weighs in on China fears