China has imposed an import ban on four Australian abattoirs in an apparent escalation of Beijing’s trade war tactics.
The blacklisting of the red meat abattoirs – three in Queensland and one in NSW – comes just days after China flagged plans to introduce an 80 per cent tariff on Australian barley, bringing the trade to its knees.
There are fears the barriers introduced by Australia’s largest trading partner are in retaliation to Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s demand for an independent investigation into the COVID 19 outbreak.
Three Queensland meatworks — Kilcoy Pastoral Company, the JBS owned Beef City, near Toowoomba, Dinmore, near Brisbane, and the New South Wales’ Northern Cooperative Meat Company at Casino — have been suspended by China.
One analyst has told the ABC the four meatworks represent 35 per cent of beef exports to China, a trade that had been on track to reach $3.5 billion this year.
In 2017, China banned imports from six Australian meatworks, including the four processors caught up in the current ban, along with Australian Country Choice and Thomas Foods.
That ban related to Chinese concern about labelling non-compliance and took months of high level diplomacy to resolve, stalling beef production in the process.
The Trade Minister had ben has contacted for comment.