China is considering targeting more Australian exports including wine and dairy, according to people familiar with the matter, in what would be a dramatic deterioration in ties as the key trading partners spar over the coronavirus outbreak.
Chinese officials have drawn up a list of potential goods also including seafood, oatmeal and fruit that could be subject to stricter quality checks, anti-dumping probes, tariffs or customs delays, the people said, asking not to be identified as the discussions are private. State media could also encourage consumer boycotts, they said, adding a final decision on the measures had not been made.
Australia, which is the world’s most-China dependent developed economy, has raised Beijing’s ire by calling for an investigation into the origins of the pandemic. President Xi Jinping’s government is sensitive to criticism of its handling of the outbreak and has a track record of using trade as a diplomatic cudgel, with South Korea, Japan and Taiwan all experiencing reprisals in recent years.
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