(SCMP.COM) – Until recently, Australia was a poster child for the mutual benefits of trade between China and liberal democracies, despite the two countries' myriad differences. These days, it stands out as a cautionary tale of the high price of getting on the wrong side of Beijing.
The downward spiral of Sino-Australian relations has drawn global attention to China's willingness to use trade as a political weapon, galvanizing calls for international cooperation to counter Beijing and prompting questions in Australia and beyond about how to best handle relations with the rising superpower.
Beijing has slapped restrictions on billions of dollars of exports in more than a dozen key Australian industries – including barley, beef, coal, copper, timber, and wine – since Canberra in April proposed an independent international inquiry into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic.
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