A productive relationship between Canberra and Beijing is in the interest of both countries, according to Tim Watts, a Labor member of Australia’s parliament. Relations between the countries have deteriorated in recent years.
“Over the past 20 years, the scale of Australia’s economic interactions with China has greatly benefited both countries,” said Watts, who is also Labor’s shadow assistant minister for communications and cyber security.
He added, as quoted by Xinhua News, that economic decoupling from China would be “an unprecedented act of national self-sabotage” for Australia.
A productive relationship between Australia and China is in the interest of both sides, Watts explained, adding “there are international issues where Australia and the PRC (People’s Republic of China) share similar interests and should constructively work together, like climate change and disaster response.”
Tensions between the two countries have been growing for around three years, after the Australian government began limiting Chinese investments in the country. In 2018, Canberra added fuel to the fire when it banned China’s Huawei and ZTE from its 5G rollout. The most recent escalation occurred when Australia pushed in April for an international inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus outbreak.
In response, Beijing suspended some imports of Australian beef and coal, and slapped heavy tariffs on barley. Last month, Chinese regulators said they would start imposing heavy duties on Australian wines after finding preliminary evidence of price dumping.
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