ACBC View on suspension of the Strategic Economic Dialogue

06 May 2021


Comments from the Australia China Business Council concerning today’s decision by China to suspend
indefinitely activities under the Strategic Economic Dialogue

  • Beijing’s decision to suspend the Strategic Economic Dialogue marks a new low in the relationship, one that is of deep concern to the business community.
  • There is little to be gained from pointing fingers of blame. But this is a serious diplomatic challenge that cannot be dismissed as just another case of Beijing ramping up the pressure on Australia.
  • The grievances in both Beijing and Canberra are very real, but they will not and cannot be resolved in the absence of good faith dialogue on all sides.
  • At a time when it has never been more important for both nations to engage and find areas for cooperation, the ACBC encourages Canberra and Beijing to address their differences.
  • It may take time before discussions can proceed, but the ACBC notes that the depth of personal and business relationships that have been developed over decades provide ballast to the underlying complementarity of the economic relationships.
  • Some commentators are describing Beijing’s announcement as largely symbolic with little immediate impact on trade. This misses the point. Business and consumers in China take their cues from Beijing and there is no disguising the parlous state of the political relationship with Australia. This will have an impact over time as business and consumers look elsewhere.
  • And it further erodes the confidence of Australian companies doing business with China. There are no winners in this equation.


David Olsson – National President

Michael Clifton – National CEO (interim)