A light, first frost came early to the Berkshires this year, prompting home gardeners to cover and protect more delicate crops for the night. I remember thinking, with a smile, as I made my way down to the garden the following morning, that a bird flying high over the still-quiet neighborhoods and town-outskirts at dawn, looking down, would have puzzled at the strange sight: an odd array of so many sheets, blankets, and tarps spread out like a scattered, mismatched patchwork-quilt of sorts, in all the backyards below! I was happy to see that the tomatoes and lettuces had survived alongside the beans and chard, beneath the sheets. But it was time to harvest most of what was left—except for the winter squash. The hearty fruit could survive a lighter…
Australian cotton growers are facing uncertainty around this year’s crop after reports from Beijing indicate that the Chinese regime has told its domestic spinning mills to stop using Australian cotton or they will face punitive actions. The Chinese regime has also informed the Australian industry it could soon face tariffs of up to 40 percent.
Peak body Cotton Australia and the Australian Cotton Shippers of Australia (ACSA) released a joint statement (pdf) on Oct. 16, that explained the National Development Reform Commission in China had discouraged the country鈥檚 spinning mills from using Australian cotton.
“Our industry鈥檚 relationship with China is of importance to us and is a relationship we have long valued and respected. To now learn of聽these changes for Australian cotton exports to China is disappointing, particularly after we have enjoyed such a mutually beneficial聽relationship with the country over many years,” the statement read.
He called on China to respect international trade rules and to engage with Australia.
“Australia backs all of our farmers and producers to compete on the world stage in a fair and competitive manner. That鈥檚 why we鈥檝e been such a successful exporting nation, and more than 30 consecutive months now of Australia exporting more than we import as a country,” he said.
This is the fourth time China has struck out at Australian exports since the Morrison government successfully petitioned the World Health Organisation for an investigation into CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus.
Previously, exports of beef, barley, and wine have been targeted by the Chinese regime in what experts and the United States have deemed economic coercion. There are also unconfirmed reports that Beijing is compelling Chinese manufacturing to slow down on coking and thermal coal imports.
Australian cotton producers export an estimated聽$800 million worth of cotton to Chinese mills each year.
In July the collapse of Chinese cotton importer聽Weilin Trade Pty Ltd cost the industry聽$20 million. The cotton buyer collapsed into voluntary administration leaving deals for an estimated third of last season’s cotton crop and many contracts for the next summer’s harvest unpaid, reported聽Queensland Country Life.
The company, which went into administration on July 2, owes about 140 creditors including from Central Queensland to the Riverina area in New South Wales.
However, Cotton Australia and ACSA noted that despite the changes to the industry鈥檚 export conditions, the industry may not be down for long as it has positive relationships with the many other countries.
“Our crop is in strong demand internationally and can attract a price premium due to its high quality,聽excellent sustainability credentials, reliability and a proven track record in meeting manufacturer and consumer needs, including in聽China,” the statement read.
The fall in purchasing may also have a smaller impact on the cotton industry, given last year’s harvest was smaller due to the drought.
Commodity analyst Charles Clack from Rabobank, the world’s leading financial services provider for the food and agribusiness sector, believes that due to lower production places, Australia was the only major exporter that did not build stockpiles from the previous season.
“As demand recovers post-pandemic, this means the domestic market will not be burdened with carry-over cotton,” Clack told The Epoch Times.
However, Clack noted that currently there is an oversupplied global market, so the benefit is limited.”
Focus News: China Targets Cotton Industry in Latest Economic Strike on Australia
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