People around the world are being urged to drink Australian wine and take a stand against China’s “bullying” as relations between the two countries plummet.
The #SolidaritywithAustralia campaign on Twitter was launched by the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China group of 200 global MPs and condemns China’s tactics in trying to force Australia into “abandoning our values”.
It comes as the OCED warned that a further escalation in tensions could undermine Australia’s economic growth outlook which is forecast to contract by 3.8 per cent in 2020, with unemployment rising to 7.9 per cent in 2021 (compared with 6.8 per cent this year).
“The infrastructure-led economic recovery in China will help sustain commodity exports and mining investment,” the OECD said.
“(But) any additional escalation in geopolitical tensions with China may undermine export growth.”
With a bottle or glass of vintage Australian in hand, world representatives have called on global consumers to support the suffering Aussie wine industry which has been caught in the crossfire.
“This isn’t just an attack on Australia, it’s an attack on free countries everywhere,” says Australia’s Kimberley Kitching, a Victorian Labor senator, in the clip which features representatives from countries ranging from Italy to the USA, Japan, Germany and New Zealand.
The video opens with IPAC members spruiking the drink their country is famous for, with Italian Democratic Party Senator Roberto Rampi bragging his nation is the world’s biggest wine exporter and Republican Senator Ted Yoho stating that nothing beats Napa Valley.
But then the MPs encourage people to put aside their cultural preferences this month to drink Aussie wine.
Slovakia’s Miriam Lexmann says: “This December we are asking you all to join us in standing against Xi Xinping’s authoritarian bullying.”
Swedish Christian Democratic Elisabet Lann adds: “Buy a bottle or two of Australian wine and let the Chinese community party know that we will not be bullied.”
Australia’s trade minister Simon Birmingham is helping to find new markets for Australian wine after the industry was hit with tariffs of up to 212 per cent.
Mr Birmingham will meet with head of Australian Grape and Wine Tony Battaglene on Wednesday to lodge an appeal with the World Trade Organisation.
China says Australia is unfairly dumping wine into the market, slapping huge tariffs on the products that have shaken the local industry.
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud says the government will “vigorously defend” the industry, pointing out Australian wine is the second highest priced wine in China.
Mr Littleproud said Australia followed the rules of international trade.
“We will stay within that,” he told parliament on Tuesday.
“We will continue to work with them (industry) and explore new markets as quickly as we can and making investments in accelerating the brand Australia wine right around the world.”
South Australian based MP Rebekha Sharkie – whose electorate covers key wine regions – is worried about the hit on local companies, urging the government to immediately support growers.
“We do need to back our industry internationally and appeal to the independent umpire at the WTO, but this is a long process,” she said.
“In the meantime the government needs to come up with a comprehensive plan that assists our growers immediately and supports them into the future.”
China is furious with Australia for demanding an investigation into the origins of coronavirus, speaking out about human rights abuses, and clamping down on foreign investment and interference.
It’s prompted hits on a wide range of Australian exports including coal, timber, grain and seafood with bans and tariffs.
Diplomatic tensions are at new lows in the aftermath of a Chinese official posting a doctored image purporting to show an Australian soldier slitting the throat of an Afghan child, after a damning report alleged war crimes.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison demanded an apology over the image and has warned coalition colleagues against further amplifying the social media attack.
“Our work is focusing on establishing dialogue that allows us to steadily work through issues as governments,” he told colleagues.
China’s foreign ministry doubled down on the post and the nation’s embassy said the government’s response was an overreaction.
Labor has joined the government in condemning the image.