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Et Tu? US Steals Most of Australia's Sale to China Amid Trade Row, Finds Study

© AP Photo / Mark SchiefelbeinA visitor wearing a face mask to protect against the coronavirus looks at a display of Australian wines at the China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai on Nov. 5, 2020. China is raising import taxes on Australian wine, stepping up pressure on Australia over disputes including its support for a probe into the origin of the coronavirus.
A visitor wearing a face mask to protect against the coronavirus looks at a display of Australian wines at the China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai on Nov. 5, 2020. China is raising import taxes on Australian wine, stepping up pressure on Australia over disputes including its support for a probe into the origin of the coronavirus. - Sputnik International, 1920, 30.11.2021
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The Quad, a grouping of the US, Australia, Japan, and India, has slammed "the coercive use of trade and economic measures that undermine rules-based trade" in a veiled jab at China. Beijing, in turn, accused Quad of using "lying and smearing diplomacy".
Australia's strategic allies have made their commercial interest a higher priority during the last 18 months, when a trade row erupted between Beijing and Canberra, the University of Technology Sydney found in its study on Tuesday.
The US has benefited the most, with one-third of Canberra's lost exports to China captured by American businesses.
The university's Australia-China Relations Institute has compiled the trade data for the first nine months of 2021, showing the value of 12 Australian exports to China affected by sanctions, which fell in value $12.6 billion in the first nine months of the year compared to the same period in 2019.
The study has claimed that the biggest beneficiary is Australia's security ally -- the US, which increased its own sales of the same goods to China by $4.6 billion. Canada and New Zealand increased their sales by $1.1 billion and $786 million respectively.
"When you dig into the trade data, the US is the country that's stealing more Australian sales in China than any other country. So strategic friends can be fierce commercial rivals and that's exactly what we're seeing," Prof. James Laurenceson, author and director of the Australia-China Relations Institute, said.
The gap between expressing solidarity and action on the ground is also evident from the data, which shows the US had not stepped up its purchases of Australian goods disrupted by trade row to help mitigate costs.
In January-September 2021, sales of Australian wine to China fell by $480.5 million, compared with 2019, and US purchases rose by just $7.1 million.
"Australia cannot take comfort in disrupted trade ties with PRC (China) being part of a broader, global decoupling trend. Rather, the weight of evidence points to greater economic integration between the PRC and the rest of the world – Australia's strategic friends included," the 25-page study found.
The crew of the Royal Australian Navy Anzac class frigate HMAS Perth cheer as they arrive at the Northern Australian city of Darwin in this picture taken on July 3, 2015 - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.11.2021
Australia Vows to Support US in Taiwan in Event of Confrontation With China
Beijing has imposed higher tariffs on Australian exports, including trade barriers for barley, wine, seafood, and coal, after a diplomatic row erupted between them in 2020.
Beijing's action has been seen primarily as a response to Canberra's decision to ban Huawei from Australia's 5G network and demand an independent investigation into the origins of COVID-19.
Since Beijing began singling Australia out for trade punishment in May 2020, Washington has not hesitated to deliver high-profile, rhetorical statements of support under successive administrations.
In March 2021, President Joe Biden's 'Indo-Pacific Czar', Kurt Campbell, said that the US is "not going to leave Australia alone on the field" and that it is "not prepared to improve relations in a bilateral and separate context at the same time that a close and dear ally is being subjected to a form of economic coercion".
Quad members also issued a joint statement in September this year "opposing coercive economic practices." However, they did not mention China by name during the first in-person meeting on 24 September.
Australia is one of the few developed countries that enjoys a trade surplus with China, its largest trading partner.
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