China and Australia frenemies who need each other
China andwho need each governments do not have to like each other to do business.
It will be the first time in seven years that an Australian prime minister visits China when Anthony Albanese visits that country.
Canberra’s growing military ties with Washington prompted his three-day trip during a time of plummeting relations between the two countries.
Australia and China have been accusing each other of human rights violations and perceived national security threats in recent years. There is a growing negative perception of the other side among the public.
China andwho need each cannot let go of each other when it comes to trade. The trade relationship between Australia and China peaked in 2020 with almost half of Australia’s exports going to China.
Around the same time, the United States exported about 9% of its goods to China, and the United Kingdom exported only 5%.
It is such leverage that can be effective if a government wants to make a point, as Australia did in 2020 when it called for an independent inquiry into Covid-19’s origins.
“That deeply upset the Chinese government,” said Jane Golley, an economist at the Australian National University.
A few weeks later, the [Chinese] ambassador here gave a speech suggesting some Australian industries might suffer.
A string of Chinese tariffs and restrictions followed on an estimated $20 billion (£16.4 billion) worth of Australian goods. Among the many products affected were barley, beef, wine, coal, timber and lobster.
“They were unhappy with the Australian government and decided to use economic coercion to get their point across,” Professor Golley said.
Such a robust move from an important trading partner surprised many at the time. In the past few years, China has reversed many of these restrictions.