Beijing Blasts US Support for Australia in Trade Disputes

After US Trade Representative Katherine Tai backed Australia in trade disputes with China, Beijing promptly reacted on Thursday saying that that the United States should correct its mistakes instead of making baseless comments, Reuters reports.

China’s foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that US comments are wrong and the tensions in China and Australia relations are caused by Australia’s interference in Chinese internal affairs.

Tai said that the US is closely monitoring trade tensions between Australia and China during a meeting with Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan on Wednesday.

She conveyed to her Australian counterpart that the US will support Canberra to tackle the shared challenge in addressing China’s state-led, non-market practices, pointing that the US supports a rules-based international trade, a media release said.

Tai and Tehan discussed the importance and strength of the bilateral trade relationship underpinned by the US-Australia Free Trade Agreement, and also agreed to continue working together to develop a digital trade policy that supports the digital economy and to address non-market practices, including economic coercion.

Ambassador Tai and Minister Tehan also discussed WTO reform, supply chain resilience, and regional economic collaboration in the Indo-Pacific,  agreeing to regular engagement on key issues.

Canberra call for an international inquiry into the origins of Covi9-19, which was first reported in China last year, increased the trade tensions between Australia and China, Australia’s largest trading partner, that were already rocky after Australia banned Huawei from its 5G wireless network in 2018.

Beijing, in return, imposed tariffs on Australian wine and barley and limited imports of Australian beef, coal and grapes-  described as economic coercion by the US – moves that Australia challenged at the WTO in June.

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