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Australia remains firm as tensions with China persist

11 June 2020

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison tells reporters that the country won’t trade values in response to “coercion” from China.

Reuters reports that the Australian Prime Minister said he would not be intimated or give into coercion from China, a major trader partner, as Australian exports are hammered by bans and increasing tariffs.

Diplomatic tensions between China and Australia have increased after Australia called for an independent inquiry into the source and spread of the novel coronavirus, angering Beijing. China recently put high tariffs on Australian barley and banned beef imports but claims that the moves are unrelated to the inquiry.

On 9 June, China's Ministry of Education said students should reconsider choosing to study in Australia, threatening Australia's fourth-largest export industry, international education, worth A$38 billion ($26 billion) annually.

"We are an open-trading nation, mate, but I'm never going to trade our values in response to coercion from wherever it comes," Morrison told radio station 2GB on Thursday.

China is Australia's largest trading partner, with two-way trade worth A$235 billion a year.

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