China is suspending all imports from Australia and New Zealand including dairy, beef, agricultural products and wines with immediate effect, a significant escalation of tensions between China and its pacific neighbors, the country’s official logistics trade association, China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP), has announced.
According to a post published by Food Ingredients Supply Chain Association under CFLP on August 15, it cities sources from its 500-strong members that an official notice has been issued to suspend customs clearance and cargo release for all Australian and New Zealand goods, including meat, dairy products, agricultural goods and wines immediately.
All arriving cargos shall wait for further notice at each port, according to the notice.
It’s worthy to note the news has not been officially announced by Chinese Customs Administration, but the association noted that relevant organs working in customs and logistics have already been informed.
It’s not known either if it’s a temporary ban or a long-term ban at this stage.
The post from CFLP did not elaborate the reasons behind the sweeping ban. But it cites Australia’s cancelling of China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ deals as “damaging for mutual trust”.
What confounds the situation is that within a day after the article was published it was abruptly deleted, and attempts to open the original WeChat post says the “the article has been deleted by the author”.
New Zealand’s exports to China reached US$22.83 billion last year, with main exports being milk formula, butter, cheese and lamb.
Australia and China’s relations have been deteriorating since 2017 and was exacerbated by rising tensions over Covid origin, 5G, Huawei culminating in China imposing a range of sweeping tariffs on Australian exports including wine, barley in 2020.
Despite the tensions, China remains Australia’s biggest trade partner and last year China’s imports from Australia reached US$164.82 billion, jumping 40.6% from a year ago, according to data released by China’s Ministry of Commerce.
The suspension if true would prove to be devasting for bilateral trade just when new administration in Canberra are in talks with Chinese sides after more than two years to repair relations.
The worsening turn of event also comes at a time when 2022 would also mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Australia.