It’s no secret that China and Australia are vastly different places. But they share a neighbourhood, and over the past 50 years the two have gone from Australia not recognising the People’s Republic of China to China becoming Australia’s biggest trading partner. In many ways, it makes sense. China provides a nearby growing market with huge numbers of consumers. They buy a lot of Australian products and they invest in Aussie companies, particularly mining. China is also an authoritarian communist country quickly solidifying its position as a global superpower, and it doesn’t care much for criticism. This can cause issues at the best of times, but in the wake of a pandemic that started in China and has spread to nearly every country in the world, it’s a recipe for disaster. Relations with China are rocky, to say the least.
The relationship with China is a two-way street. The Chinese buy a lot of iron ore, gold, and coal from Australia. This desire for natural materials played a big role in helping Australia avoid recession in the Global Financial Crisis. These materials also help fuel manufacturing in China, which in turn leads to cheap products available to Australians. China also played a key role in making Australia the world’s top exporter of liquefied natural gas. As the Chinese diet becomes more westernised, agricultural exports such as beef and barley go up. When relations with China are going well, the money is flowing and the economy is generally in a good spot.
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