Topics : China suspended imports from four major Australian beef suppliers Tuesday, just weeks after Beijing’s ambassador warned of a consumer boycott in retaliation for Canberra’s push to probe the origins of the coronavirus.Analysts said the move raised concerns of a possible standoff between Australia and its most important trading partner that could spill over into other crucial sectors as it struggles to navigate the disease-induced economic crisis.Federal Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said shipments of meat from the abattoirs had been suspended over “minor technical” breaches related to Chinese health and labeling certificate requirements. Fears for other sectors The calls have drawn threats from Beijing, with ambassador Cheng Jingye calling them “dangerous”.In an interview with the Australian Financial Review last month, he said: “The Chinese public is frustrated, dismayed and disappointed with what Australia is doing now.”If the mood is going from bad to worse, people would think ‘why should we go to such a country that is not so friendly to China?’ The tourists may have second thoughts.”He added: “It is up to the people to decide. Maybe the ordinary people will say ‘Why should we drink Australian wine? Eat Australian beef?'”Cheng also threatened the flow of Chinese students to Australian universities, a key source of revenue that is already under threat from pandemic travel restrictions.But speaking in Canberra, Birmingham said the government was treating the trade issues as unrelated to discussions around a virus probe.”It’s in no way related, in no way related, to the export arrangements for Australian beef or for Australian barley or for anything else,” he said.”We certainly don’t see any relationship, and we would expect that no other counterpart country should see a relationship between those factors either.”The countries were already at loggerheads after Australia hit China with huge anti-dumping levies on several products including and steel.Beijing has also been riled by a decision to ban controversial telecoms giant Huawei from building Australia’s 5G network.And there are fears of a further escalation of the standoff and its impact on their two-way trade, which is worth about Aus$235 billion.”The risk is, of course, that this broadens out to more critical areas such as iron ore, coal, education, LNG, etcetera,” said AxiCorp’s Stephen Innes.He added: “But if it stays at beef and barley, then economically, it shouldn’t matter much for Australia.”The benchmark ASX200 ended down 1.1 percent Tuesday, while the Australian dollar fell around 0.5 percent against the US dollar. “We are concerned that the suspensions appear to be based on highly technical issues, which in some cases date back more than a year,” he added.”We will work with industry and authorities in both Australia and China to seek to find a solution that allows these businesses to resume their normal operations as soon as possible.”The four meatworks account for around 35 percent of Australia’s beef exports to China in a trade worth about Aus$1.7 billion (US$1.1 billion), according to national broadcaster ABC.China has also flagged major tariffs on Australian barley over allegations it is selling the grain in China for less than it costs to produce it — known as dumping. The Australian Financial Review cited confidential documents as saying Beijing is considering duties of 73.6 percent. Tensions between the two have increased since Australia started calling for an independent investigation into the origin of the coronavirus outbreak, which began in China before spreading around the world, killing more than 280,000, infecting millions and shattering the global economy.
A convicted child killer and rapist has launched a legal challenge to the holding of an inquest into the death of Arlene Arkinson.Robert Howard was acquitted of murdering the teenager, from Castlederg, County Tyrone who was last seen in Bundoran.He is seeking a judicial review of the senior coroner’s decision to examine events surrounding Arlene’s disappearance. The teenager was 15 when she went missing in 1994.Arlene is believed to have been murdered. Robert Howard was acquitted at trial of her murder in 2005.The family want an inquest to be held to examine how the RUC conducted its investigation into her disappearance and the acquittal of Howard for her murder.A report by the Police Ombudsman in 2008 said police treated her disappearance as a missing person inquiry for too long rather than a potential abduction or murder.It also said they took too long to arrest the main suspect, Robert Howard.Although they had grounds to do this within 48 hours of her disappearance, it did not happen until 46 days after Arlene had first been reported missing.Arlene vanished near her home in Castlederg after attending a disco at Bundoran with friends in August 1994.She was last seen in a car driven by Howard.Howard was questioned and later charged with her murder, but he was found not guilty in court.In October 2003, Howard was found guilty of murdering Hannah Williams, 14, from Deptford, in south London, whose body was found in a cement works in Northfleet, Kent, in March 2002.EndsARLENE SUSPECT LAUNCHES LEGAL CHALLENGE TO HER INQUEST was last modified: June 29th, 2011 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Arlene ArkinsonbundoranRobert Howard