More China bullying – now it’s a ban on cotton!

Australia’s cotton industry is bracing for what could be a devastating blow as it becomes the latest casualty in the escalating trade tensions with China.

Mills in China are being told to stop buying Australian cotton as speculation grows that a hefty tariff is about to be slapped on the trade.

Government sources have told the ABC the cotton industry could face tariffs as high as 40 per cent, a sanction that could make the trade with China unviable.

Under China’s current trade rules, the Chinese Government determines how much cotton each mill can import through a quota system.

Without the government endorsement, these mills could be forced to pay 40 per cent more to buy Australian cotton.

Trade Minister Simon Birmingham has confirmed he’s aware of concerns China might be set to impose changes on the trade and is seeking more information from Australia’s largest trading partner.

“China should rule out any use of discriminatory actions against Australian cotton producers,” he said.

Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said “We are showing leadership as an Australian Government and are prepared to have that conversation.”

The China market accounts for 65 per cent of the cotton grown nationwide.

Tensions between Australia and China have escalated this year with tariffs or bans on wine, barley, iron and coal.

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