|Chinese FM Spokesperson: The Chinese Customs Takes Inspection and Quarantine Measures on Imported Australian Products in Accordance with Laws and Regulations|
At a regular press conference of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China on November 2, Spokesperson Wang Wenbin answered a few questions about allegations that China imposed restrictions on imported Australian products.
Journalist:Australia says that Chinese customs officers are delaying imports of some premium shellfish products, according to a Bloomberg news report. Australia has been successful in tackling the coronavirus, especially in Western Australia, which is the country's biggest lobster-exporting state. So my first question is, why then is Australia the only country facing delays like this on shellfish products? Separately, there have been two further reports, one from SCMP saying that China is expected to introduce bans on imports of Australian copper ore, copper concentrate and sugar this week. In addition, Reuters reports that China has rejected Australia's appeal to remove import tariffs on barley. So all aspects of this question basically refer to delays on imports or bans on imports of Australian goods. With so many examples that I've just cited, it's quite hard not to see this as some form of retribution. So I'd like to ask you about these three areas, in particular the premium shellfish products.
Wang Wenbin: On your first question, According to law, the Chinese customs takes inspection and quarantine measures on imported seafood products and releases them after finding they meet the criteria. This practice is in line with pertinent laws and regulations, and protects the safety of Chinese consumers buying imported food.
Regarding your second question, China conducts friendly cooperation with other countries based on mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. We believe a sound and stable China-Australia relationship serves the fundamental interests of both peoples. In the meantime, mutual respect is the foundation and guarantee of practical cooperation between countries. We hope Australia can do more things conducive to mutual trust, bilateral cooperation and the spirit of China-Australia comprehensive strategic partnership, and bring the bilateral relations back to the right track as early as possible.
Journalist: Again on trade with Australia. According to media reports, China has banned the imports of timber from Australia's state of Queensland. Can you confirm if this is the case?
Wang Wenbin: The Chinese customs has since January detected many cases of live pests in timber imported from Australia, such as longicorn and buprestid beetles. These live pests, if allowed into China, will gravely endanger China's forestry production and ecological security. In accordance with China's quarantine laws and regulations, China treated these logs with pesticides, and following international standards, China has notified the Australian side of the cases and asked Australian to investigate and take measures to prevent recurrence. We hope that the Australian side will take effective measures to strengthen export quarantine and ensure the exported timber meet China's quarantine requirements.