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article imageOp-Ed: Australia — It’s such fun doing business with China, not very

By Paul Wallis     May 20, 2020 in World
Sydney - After the 80% tariffs, China has now descended to name calling. Nothing like Maoist-era rhetoric to really help things along We’ve been called “dogs of the US” by the Global Times, China’s answer to the Daily Express.
Some dogs bite. Others take the longer view and simply avoid the offensive smell.
The Chinese war of words and trade tariff tantrums with Australia is proving a point to the world – The question is now who’s next to get the benefits of Chinese bluster and expensive trade decisions?
To say Australia is surprised by this Attack of the Verbose Psychotic Spring Rolls would be an overstatement and a half. We’re not. Doing business with China includes some odd situations, to say the least.
I’ve spoken to people who placed an order for shoes with China. The shoes came back so badly made that they refused to pay. The shoes weren’t made to specifications and were pretty horrible. The next thing they knew, the Chinese embassy was calling them about the matter.
Then we have the wonderful heart-warming case of the Hong Kong protests, in which Chinese students in Australia sympathetic to the protests were intimidated by other Chinese students. A virtual symphony of thuggish behaviour, in fact. It took a few weeks for this to happen, so it may have been on instructions. This is an ongoing thing, too.
Not worth it? Maybe it’s not
China is our biggest trading partner. The Chinese invest in Australia, they buy baby formula companies in Australia, and quite a bit of residential, rural and commercial property. The relationship has had many ups and downs, but it’s usually just been about doing business.
Now, it’s about something quite else. It’s about whether China can see straight or not. The bizarre assumption that we wanted an inquiry about the pandemic as a US proxy, for example, is one of those strange things. We simply wanted a coordinated inquiry into a global issue. The US had nothing to do with it on any official level, apart from a vague indication of support in principle. The US was asking for a totally different type of inquiry, for the record. How China got the idea that we were acting on the US behalf is more of a question for an astrologer than national policy.
China also doesn’t seem to see much value in its investments in Australia. These investments are not under any threat from us, but could be from Beijing, if we’re now blacklisted by China. Chinese investors may be “advised” to cut ties with Australia, for all we know or care. Nothing personal, guys, but we’ve seen all we need to see of this stuff.
What does the world see in this mess? It’s a critical question
We’ve been doing business with China for decades. We were the first Western nation to open trade relations. China and Australia have made tens of billions from each other. That apparently means nothing to China.
Which raises the questions:
• If China is prepared to destroy a multi-billion dollar 40 plus year trade relationship on the basis of nothing but rhetoric and selective interpretation of a foreign government policy, where does that leave other countries?
• Does your government have to be acceptable to China?
• What about borrowing money? What can change overnight?
• Is any political excuse, rational or otherwise, good enough to get this sort of treatment?
We don’t expect much from the cadres, doing their jobs of “conspicuous communism”. They’re not famous for their tact, or anything else, much. The name-calling comes from the old Maoist “running dogs of capitalism”, just recycled and updated a bit. It’s hard to give a damn about infantile abuse from such inelegant sources.
The costly, ridiculous, not to say utterly anti-factual behaviour, however, is a different matter. It was always possible China would play this standover card. They’ve played it, and there’s no taking it back.
With a global recession thundering at the doors of the world, maybe it’s better to get it over with sooner rather than later. Demand for goods will stall at best, crash at worst. China will be on the receiving end of every economic wind that blows in every market on Earth, and we’re looking at about a Class 3 economic typhoon in the next six months.
The good news is that China always survives its governments. From Empress Wu to Chiang Kai Shek to Tiananmen, China has seen it all before. Just one little side note. A Chinese sage was also called a dog. His name was Kung Tse, or Confucius in Western terms. He’s still highly respected in China. Nobody cares who called him a dog.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Australia China relations, Australia China trade, Australi China tariffs, Chinese students in Australia, Tiananmen
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