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Chinese tariffs on coal there & gone

An interesting feature of the proposed Australia China free trade agreement is that so little is at stake. Most of Australia’s exports to China and most of China’s exports to Australia are tariff free. The catch is the restriction on Chinese purchases of Australian housing and land and Chinese foreign investments generally which are subject to discriminatory restrictions.  But if Australia reduced these restrictions what could China offer in return? Well, not much.  So a few weeks ago China imposed tariffs on Australian coal and, as a major “concession” yesterday announced they would be removed as the negotiations over the FTA enters its final week.  One wonders what Australia has given away to achieve this remarkable concession.   Some dumb politics here. There just isn’t much in this FTA for Australia given that (as I have pointed out in the past) it is highly unlikely Australia will remove the restrictions on Chinese foreign investment.

3 comments to Chinese tariffs on coal there & gone

  • derrida derider

    Yeh, its a bit like a retailer jacking up prices just before having a sale. I think the Chinese regard us as naïve – not perhaps without some reason.

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