Beijing Bans Beef Exports From Fifth Australian Abattoir

August 27, 2020 Updated: September 12, 2020

Beijing’s has suspended beef imports from a fifth Australian abattoir, just hours after Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced new laws which could spell the end of controversial Chinese-backed agreements in Australia, including Victoria’s Belt and Road Initiative and the Confucius Institutes.

The Chinese General Administration of Customs suspended imports from Queensland beef producer, and family-owned business, John Dee Warwick.

The announcement on Aug. 27, alleged that the drug chloramphenicol was detected in sirloin meat from the abattoir.

The department has notified John Dee Warwick of the suspension, ordered an investigation, and to report back in 45 days.

On May 13, the Chinese authorities suspended imports from four Australian abattoirs. At the time, Trade Minister Simon Birmingham noted the suspensions appeared to target “highly technical issues.”

On Aug. 27, the prime minister announced the new Foreign Relations Bill, which would give the federal government the authority to review, approve, or veto agreements between foreign government entities and sub-national governments in Australia.

The law also captures agreements entered into by universities and potentially private institutions.

It places a host of Beijing-backed agreements under the microscope including the controversial Belt and Road Initiative in the state of Victoria; Confucius Institutes in Australian universities; academic partnerships with Chinese institutions; sister-city agreements with Chinese authorities; and even the Port of Darwin lease.