Premier Annastacia Palaszcuk has called on the Federal Government to urgently resolve its issues with China with the State’s beef industry facing a multi-billion dollar hit.
It follows China’s ban on beef imports from four Australian abattoirs, three of those in Queensland.
That move comes just days after China imposed tariffs of 88 per cent on Australian barley, sparking fears of an all out trade war with our biggest trading partner.
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Federal Trade Minister Simon Birmingham says officials are working on resolving the issue as quickly as possible.
But he insists the trade matters are not related to the Government’s call for an independent inquiry into the origins of COVID-19.
“Chinese officials say both privately and publicly that these are unconnected matters, that the investigations in relation to barley and the issues in relation o beef have been running for 12-18 months in duration before they’ve reached these decisions,” Senator Birmingham told Seven.
Beef exports are worth almost $5 billion to the Queensland economy with China the State’s biggest market.
The Premier says the stand-off threatens thousands of jobs across Queensland.
“What I’m really concerned about is this potential for a trade war to erupt and to damage Queensland’s exports, to damage Queensland’s reputation and to damage Queensland’s jobs and livelihoods,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“Let’s remember these are some of the toughest jobs that our workers have to do in our beef industry and if we go into a full blown trade war this could mean over 3200 workers impacted, this is really serious.”
The Premier says she will write to the Prime Minister and Trade Minister today urging them to sort it out.
“This could potentially be tens of thousands of jobs right across Australia it is really important.
“These are international diplomatic matters but I would really urge the federal government to please, sort this out as quickly as possible and give certainty to the thousands of jobs here in Queensland.”