The Australian’s Dennis Shanahan says the Chinese government has the ability “to screw down the borders (and) to screw down trade” without evoking any sort of “retaliation or political rhetoric”.
Mr Shanahan told Sky News host Peta Credlin the communist regime “has form on these issues” and can simply “describe it as paperwork” if any trade retaliation is imposed on nations who deal with the country.
On Monday, China had given Australia an ultimatum, threatening tariffs up to 80 per cent on grain if the federal government does not respond to allegations of “barley dumping” in 10 days, in an escalation of trade tensions between the two sovereign nations.
The government rejected claims Australian grain growers dumped barley into the Chinese market en masse – thereby undermining local producers.
“I think that China is having it both ways here,” Mr Shanahan told Sky News host Peta Credlin.
“And of course, Scott Morrison can’t come around and say this is retaliation”.