Australian exporters hit $6 billion as China's trade war worsens
Australian exporters worry that Chinese officials might turn away $6 billion from ports and airports beginning today.
Officials said earlier this week that Australian wine, lobsters, sugar, steel , copper, barley and timber will be barred from the region.
If the warning becomes a reality, Australian exports to China will be cut by about $5 to $6 billion annually.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton told Today that he was "concerned," and the federal government engaged with China to address the problem.
"We need to ensure we can work on China problems. It's not an easy problem.
"Hopefully it's settled, and goods continue to flood into China. That's a big part of our economy.
But deputy chief of Labour, Richard Marles, said hundreds of thousands of jobs were at stake and the federal government had to take action.
"It's no good pointing to China or any other region, saying 'it's not our fault,'" he said.
Mr Marles said Chinese-Australian ministers' "hopeless" relationship was a concern.
"The country has its own diplomacy."
The Chinese government-backed Global Times also flagged the export ban, warning of what it called the "import pause" in a Wednesday English-language post.
It accused Australia of sabotaging China.
"Analysts cautioned that Chinese customers' trust in Australian goods will drop dramatically if Australia continues to undermine bilateral ties, costing Australia its biggest and largest market, employment, and a chance to rebound rapidly from the pandemic," she added.
Australian beef, barley, coal and wine farmers have been trapped in rising tensions with China in recent months after disputes over coronavirus, Hong Kong and international intervention.