Demystifying Australia-China trade tensions

Thur 16 December 2021 


Associate Professor Weihuan Zhou’s new paper, titled 'Demystifying Australia-China Trade Tensions' and co-authored with Prof James Laurenceson (Director of the Australia-China Relations Institute, University of Technology Sydney), has been published online by the Journal of World Trade. 

This paper takes an inter-disciplinary approach and offers the first detailed study of the legal issues involved in the China-Australia trade tensions since 2020 and of the broader and fundamental challenges in the bilateral relations. Faced with a raft of misunderstandings about the underlying causes of the tensions and the related legal issues, this paper seeks to expose the deeper drivers of political friction, provides a critical assessment of the vulnerability of the Australian economy, and place the current state of Australia’s relations with China in a comparative regional perspective. These discussions set an important context for a detailed and critical analysis of the legal issues that Chinese trade measures have created under the rules of the World Trade Organization and the China – Australia Free Trade Agreement. It shows that these legal issues have been over-simplified or misunderstood in existing work. Overall, the paper argues that combined with political leadership, a clear understanding of these issues offers the best prospect for an improved relationship trajectory, serving both countries’ interests. 

The paper is available here

Associate Professor Zhou’s research may be found at SSRN, Twitter @WeihuanZhou, and LinkedIn