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China depends on Taiwanese and Australian products, despite banning them

In 2021, China had a lot of trade frictions with Taiwan and Australia. It banned pineapples and other fruits from Taiwan and rejected Australia’s coal, beef, and cotton. However, The trade deficit between China and Taiwan amounted to $171.6 billion, ranking first, then Australia’s $98.5 billion.

The General Administration of Customs of China released information on Jan. 14. showing that in 2021, the total value of goods imported by China from Taiwan was the highest at $250 billion, followed by South Korea’s $213.4 billion and Japan’s $205.5 billion. The United States’ $179.5 million and Australia’s $164.8 million ranked fourth and fifth, respectively.

China blames hazardous organisms discovered during quarantine. As a result, Beijing banned the import of Taiwanese pineapples in Feb. 2021. In September of the same year, China suspended the sale of Taiwan’s tropical fruits, custard apple (sweet apple), and lotus mist for the same reason. In 2020, 90% of Taiwanese pineapples were transported to mainland China; by 2021, the number of pineapples shipped to China had plummeted to one-tenth of what it had been in the previous year.

However, according to a report published by the General Administration of China on Jan. 18, the types of things imported by Beijing from Taiwan with the most significant proportion in 2021 are electromechanical, electrical, audio-visual equipment and their parts with a total import value of $1,986 billion. Optical, photographic, medical, and other equipment and accessories are the second-largest import value at $16.8 billion, or less than 1% of the total value of mechanical and electrical imports.

Boycott of Australian coal but substantial imports of other Australian minerals

In 2021, the value of China’s imports from Australia increased around 40% year-on-year; among them, mineral products from Australia reached $137.4 billion.

Australia is one of the Five Eyes countries (U.S., UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand). In 2021, to resist Beijing’s expansion that threatens regional stability, Five Eyes Organized joint military exercises, issuing a joint statement condemning the lack of democracy in Hong Kong’s Legislative Council elections, and jointly boycotting the Beijing Winter Olympics. 

The Chinese state media has repeatedly criticized the Five Eyes alliance, but economically, China cannot eliminate its dependence on the Five Eyes alliance. For example, China’s total import and export value in 2021 is $6,051.5 billion, of which the total import and export value with the Five Eyes alliance is $1,206.1 billion, accounting for 19.9%.

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