The International Trade Council has expressed concern over China's decision to "indefinitely" suspend key economic dialogue with Australia, calling it the latest in a growing diplomatic rift between both countries. This move has escalated tensions between Australia and China, which have been on the decline since Australia called for a probe into the origins of the virus and banned Huawei from building its 5G network.
The China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue is one of the "premier bilateral economic meetings with China," and this move by the Chinese government commission has been described as having a "Cold War mindset." The Australian Trade Minister Dan Tehan called it "disappointing," but also added that Canberra was still open to discussions.
China had previously stopped ministerial-level communication between the two countries, and this move by the NDRC appears to be extending that diplomatic freeze. The International Trade Council believes that disrupting co-operation and dialogues even closer will have far-reaching implications on both countries.
The International Trade Council recognizes that both countries have disagreed on a number of important political issues, but believes that dialogue is essential for trade relations to improve. China is Australia's biggest trading partner, accounting for 29% of Australia's trade with the world in 2019. The recent tit-for-tat measures between both countries have led to strained trade ties, and Chinese investment in Australia plummeted 61% in 2020, the lowest number in six years.
The International Trade Council urges both countries to engage in meaningful dialogue and find mutually beneficial solutions to the issues at hand. The Council also reiterates the importance of maintaining strong trade relations, as it is crucial to both countries' economic prosperity.
"We are concerned about the impact of the suspension of the dialogue on the trade relations between the two countries. It is essential for both countries to come to the table and engage in meaningful dialogue to resolve the issues at hand," said the spokesperson for the International Trade Council.
The International Trade Council is a global organization committed to promoting free and fair trade and providing a platform for dialogue and collaboration between businesses, governments, and other stakeholders.