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We won’t be bullied by China

May 14, 2020

AWU leads call to stand up to China on trade threats and bullying


The Australian Workers’ Union has written to the Prime Minister Scott Morrison urging him to hold his nerve and stand up to China’s bullying tactics on trade.

AWU National Secretary Daniel Walton says Australia must resist Chinese Government threats to impose massive trade tariffs in response to our demands for a COVID-19 investigation and action taken against the illegal dumping of products like steel and aluminium by China.

The AWU is fighting for thousands of members in steel, aluminium and other manufacturing industries as well as members in Australia’s vibrant agricultural sector.

Mr Walton said the current economic downturn meant it was more important than ever that Mr Morrison stood up to China to protect Australian businesses and jobs.

Mr Walton urged the Government to ‘hold its nerve’ and whilst it might ‘suit billionaires who have cosy relationships with the CCP for our government to roll over, AWU members expect their government to stand for them and defend the national interest.

“A failure to punish cheats – regardless of their threatening behaviour – would not just harm Australia’s steel and aluminium industries. It would set the scene for other industries to be destroyed by an emboldening a trading partner who could dump goods with impunity.”


Listen to Dan Walton on 6PR Radio


The Chinese Communist Party has ratcheted up its aggression against Australia in recent days after it led a global call for an investigation into the origins of COVID-19. The Chinese have retaliated by suspending the imports of beef and now threatening tariffs on Australian barley and other products and services threatening the jobs of thousands of Australian workers.

China has also raised issues with Australian duties on dumped Chinese steel and aluminium – something that Australia is perfectly entitled to do at law.

In his letter, Mr Walton pointed out that there was no basis for China’s proposed tariffs on Australia’s world leading agricultural product which, unlike China’s, are totally unsubsidised or protected. Any action would be purely political and designed to economically intimidate Australia.

Mr Walton says Australia must join forces with international partners to form a ‘Trade NATO’ to resist “China’s preferred approach of bilateral bullying”.

China has a long history of trade violations, including the dumping of imported steel and aluminium below cost into Australia and around the world. Every steel and aluminium country has sanctions against China’s dumping.

Read the full letter to the Prime Minister here.

In the letter, Mr Walton highlighted that Australia’s Anti-Dumping Commission was currently investigating illegal dumping 31 cases, 17 of which were solely from or included China. But, that penalties metered out by Australia were at the ‘lower end of the global spectrum for importers found to be engaging in illegal dumping”.

He wrote: “Australia’s dumping laws…also provide China with the benefit of ‘Market Economy’ status, something that no other major trading nation has afforded China. To suggest Australia treats China unfairly is erroneous.”

Mr Walton added that COVID-19 and the latest round of bullying from China once again highlighted the dangers of Australia being too “overly reliant on global supply chains” and that it was high time the Australia government defended the ‘national interest’ and not capitulate.

Stand with us by joining the union and signing our petition to stand up against trade bullying by China.

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