Australia likely to gain from U.S.- China tariff dispute: U.S. report

Updated 2018-04-04 12:13:00 Xinhua

In light of trade disputes between the United States and China, Australia stands to gain as Canberra can increase production or take price advantage to replace American companies in Chinese market, National Public Radio (NPR) predicted on Tuesday.

According to a report of NPR, the biggest radio network in the country, China was the largest trading partner of Australia. Australia produces many of the things which China also imports from the United States and appears on China's list of 128 U.S. goods.

China suspended tariff concessions on 128 items of U.S. products from Monday, which will see a tariff of 15 to 25 percent on products including fruits, pork and related products, in retaliation for the Trump administration's decision to impose similar tariffs on aluminum and steel from China.

The story said U.S. wine industry is facing a crisis now and will suffer long-term damage even though U.S. producers were already at a disadvantage to Australian competitors in China.

Current Chinese customs duties for U.S. wines are 14 percent, while wines from Australia is charged customs duties of 0 percent under bilateral free trade agreement.

In 2017, exports to mainland China, Australia's single-largest wine export region, grew up a whopping 63 percent, with a total value of 848 million U.S. dollars, nearly twice as large as the United States.

Robert Koch, CEO of the Wine Institute, was quoted by NPR as saying that the new increased tariff would have a chilling effect on U.S. wine exports to China, one of the world's most important and fastest-growing markets.

The report also listed Australia as the biggest competitor to the U.S. fruit and nuts exports to China since data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows 40 percent of the country's fruit already gets shipped off to China and tree nut exports to China have grown 10 times in five years to 63 million dollars in 2016.

"The market share that we've been trying to develop over the past several years becomes expendable and there's an opportunity for others to steal it," Joel Nelsen, president of the trade group California Citrus Mutual, told NPR.

The report said in sectors of scrap aluminum, steel and coal exports, Australia will have a good opportunity to grab a larger market share previously lost by Washington in a tariff dispute with China.

"It has been said often in the last few weeks: 'No one wins a trade war.' Nevertheless, staying out of a war is often the best way to win, or at least not to lose," the report concluded.

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