As of May 19, China’s embassy said that Australia’s claim of vindication over global support for the international review of the origin and handling of the novel coronavirus at World Health Assembly (WHA) was nothing but “a joke”. In a blunt statement and sign of worsening bilateral relations, China imposed anti-subsidy duties totalling 80.5 percent on Australian barley imports. The move, which is expected to impede a billion-dollar trade between the two nations, as per the global thinktank reports.
In an emailed statement, a Chinese embassy spokesman said the draft resolution on COVID-19 to be adopted by the World Health Assembly is totally different from Australia's proposal of an independent international review. To claim the WHA's resolution a vindication of Australia's call is nothing but a joke, the statement read. Further, China launched an attack on Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison saying that he began lobbying international counterparts for an investigation last month, a media report confirmed.
In bitter dialogues further, China Ministry’s website wrote in a statement, "The investigating authority has ruled that there was dumping of imported barley from Australia and the domestic industry suffered substantial damage.”
As trade tensions between China and Australia intensify, Australia might challenge the 80 per cent import tariff through the World Trade Organization, as per reports. While downplaying the links between China’s objections and Australia’s vocal about the COVDI-19, Australian government ministers on May 19 told a press conference that there was “no trade war”.
However, China accused Australia of a political “maneuver” against Beijing with respect to Covid-19 review as a motion drafted by the European Union and strongly backed by Australia is expected to pass the World Health Assembly (WHA) today, May 19, according to international media reports. Co-sponsored by over 120 countries, the motion calls on the WHO’s director-general, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, to initiate an impartial, independent, and comprehensive evaluation into COVID-19.
In a press conference held in Sydney, Trade minister Simon Birmingham indicated that Australia will appeal the imposition of a 73.6% anti-dumping tariff and a 6.9% anti-subsidy tariff applied to all Australian barley by China. Further, he was quoted saying that Australia was “deeply disappointed” with China’s decision to impose duties and rejected the basis of the abrupt decision.