[I'm sorry for the Australians, but I do think it's excellent. It is better if Australia stops being a slave to Communist China … never forget the COMMUNIST part of CHINA! It is a Jewish communist state. I think Trump is doing excellently by initiating this trade war with China. It is bringing us closer to nationalism. Its a step away from Globalism and anything that sinks Jewish globalism is EXCELLENT! Sink the ship! The Australians are rocking and they will survive as whites always do. Jan]
Australia’s cotton industry is bracing for what could be a devastating blow as it becomes the latest casualty in the escalating trade tensions with China.
- Chinese mills have been "discouraged" from buying Australian cotton, Government sources say
- There are fears a 40 per cent tariff could be imposed on the trade
- Australia sells about $800m worth of cotton to China annually
Mills in China are being told to stop buying Australian cotton as speculation grows that a hefty tariff is about to be slapped on the trade.
Government sources have told the ABC the cotton industry could face tariffs as high as 40 per cent, a sanction that could make the trade with China unviable.
Under China’s current trade rules, the Chinese Government determines how much cotton each mill can import through a quota system.
But the ABC understands spinning mills have been warned not to use Australian product, or risk their quotas being slashed.
Without the government endorsement, these mills could be forced to pay 40 per cent more to buy Australian cotton.
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Cotton Australia chief executive Adam Kay says he was disappointed to hear mills in China are being discouraged from buying Australian cotton.
‘Would be taken very seriously’
Trade Minister Simon Birmingham has confirmed he’s aware of concerns China might be set to impose changes on the trade and is seeking more information from Australia’s largest trading partner.
"China should rule out any use of discriminatory actions against Australian cotton producers," he said.
"Impeding the ability of producers to compete on a level playing field could constitute a potential breach of China’s international undertakings, which would be taken very seriously by Australia."
Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the Government had not received any official word of changes to the cotton trade with China and conceded his government was having difficulty getting answers from
"Obviously we would prefer that our dialogue continues to enrich but you can only resolve differences by actually having your hand out and being prepared to have that conversation," he said.
"We are showing leadership as an Australian Government and are prepared to have that conversation."
The Australian industry has become increasingly nervous about the $800 million market, which typically accounts for 65 per cent of the cotton grown nationwide.
In a statement released today, Cotton Australia and the Cotton Shippers Association said the industry was "trying to understand apparent changes to export conditions".
"It has become clear to our industry that the National Development Reform Commission in China has recently been discouraging their country’s spinning mills from using Australian cotton," the statement said.
"Our industry is working with the Australian Government, including the Trade and Agriculture Ministers’ offices, to investigate the situation and fully understand what is going on."
About 65 per cent of Australia’s cotton goes to China.(ABC News: Kristy O’Brien)
‘Nothing in writing’
Cotton Australia chief executive Adam Kay has told the ABC he fears the industry could be affected by broader trade tensions affecting other Australian commodities.
"We’re concerned that we’re getting caught up in that," Mr Kay said.
"We’ve certainly been working very hard to make sure all the procedures and protocols and paperwork has been perfect because we know there’s some tension there, but this has come out of the blue.
"At the moment there is nothing in writing, it is all word of mouth, so that’s what we need to get to the bottom of."
Littleproud talks up other options
Minister Littleproud said the Government was working "quickly" with industry to understand the "scale and veracity" of the situation.
But he also spruiked Australia’s trade credentials, including new free trade agreements and emerging markets.
"Already they can send into Indonesia where a Free Trade Agreement was ratified a couple of months ago. India and also Vietnam take significant amounts of our cotton," Mr Littleproud said.
"The industry at the moment believes there’s around around a $30 per bale cut to the current price, which takes it down to about $500 a bale, which is still profitable to producers around the country.
"I’m pleased to say we will continue to explore other markets but we would prefer to have a trading relationship that is fair, open and transparent with our Chinese counterparts."
Tensions between Australia and China have escalated this year.(Reuters: Jason Lee)
Cotton Australia and the Cotton Shippers Association said the industry relationship with China was long valued and respected.
"To now learn of these changes for Australian cotton exports to China is disappointing, particularly after we have enjoyed such a mutually beneficial relationship with the country over many years," they said.
"Despite these changes to our industry’s export conditions, we know Australian cotton will find a home in the international market."