Warning ‘worst is to come’ on trade sanctions amid diplomatic fallout from Tony Abbott’s visit to Taiwan

Australia should brace for further China trade sanctions amid the diplomatic fallout from former prime minister Tony Abbott’s visit to Taiwan, state-controlled media has warned.
In an editorial, China Daily said Mr Abbott’s private trip to Taiwan last week damaged further the already fraught relations between Canberra and Beijing.

It also warned that “the worst is probably yet to come”, flagging more trade hits against Australian exporters.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen watches former prime minister Tony Abbott speak during a security forum last week. Chinese state controlled media has now threatened more trade sanctions. (Pool Photo via AP Photo)

“His smearing of the mainland not only shows the outdated mindset that prevails in Australia, it also risks dragging Australia deeper into the mess of its own making,” the state media outlet said in an editorial.

“With politicians in Canberra continuing to act and sound increasingly hostile toward China, the worst is probably yet to come.”

He branded President Xi Jinping as “the new red emperor”.

In the editorial yesterday, the China Daily flagged further trade sanctions against Australian exporters.

“Australia, a country that relies heavily on trade with China, has persistently prodded the most sensitive nerve of its biggest trading partner,” it wrote.

“With politicians in Canberra continuing to act and sound increasingly hostile toward China, the worst is probably yet to come.”

Australian exports to China – including wine, coal, seafood and barley – have been hit by trade sanctions over the past 18 months.

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Australian exporters have been hit with a range of Chinese trade sanctions over the past 18 months. (Getty)

While many exporters have successfully diversified to new markets, the wine and seafood industries have been hit particularly hard.

Federal Government data published last month showed that a $5.4 billion decline in exports to China has been offset by $4.4 billion in new exports to other markets in the three months to June.

Struggling with power shortages, the Chinese government last month accepted Australian coal exports.

And Australian iron ore exports – worth $14 billion a month – have been untouched because of soaring demand for steel in China.

But the Australian education sector that has taken thousands of Chinese students and is worth $4 billion a year could be targeted by Beijing.

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Chinese authorities started accepting Australian coal shipments (AP)

In his Taiwan speech, Mr Abbott blasted China’s provocative trade stance for attempting to coerce Australia into policy changes.

“Its embassy has published 14 demands – essentially that we become a tributary state,” he said.

Mr Abbott said Australia “welcomed” Chinese trade and investment, but demanded that Beijing’s “hectoring” cease.

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