Australians who have business interests in Hong Kong and mainland China worry that they could be caught in the midst of a dispute between Beijing and Canberra.

Sino-Australian relations have been deteriorated dramatically since April, when Australia called for an independent international investigation into the outbreak of COVID-19.

That tit-for-tat between the two countries continued this week after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade warned Australians may face “arbitrary detention” if they visit mainland China.

The announcement was welcomed by an angry official letter from the Chinese embassy calling the claim “utterly ridiculous and disinformation.”

David Thomas, president of the Australia China SME Association, said businesses were “worried” by rising tensions.

“Of course they are worried, but now it’s mainly noise,” Thomas said New Daily.

“For the Australian economy ‘be healthy again‘and to avoid a long and painful recession, we must be on good terms with our biggest trading partners.

Sino-Australian relations have changed badly. Photo: Getty

“Of course we have to diversify, but when we get out of Job Guard subsidies, we will need the country to trade. And China is number one in this region, “he said.

They are not only our number one trading partner, they belong to everyone … They have got money and a market. “

Not only are they our biggest trading partners for commodities, but China also offers innovative new industries for Australians to do business in.

“By the end of this year, China is expected to have 160 million people accessing their new 5G network. We can take advantage of this, “Thomas said.

“A Chinese shopper in Shanghai can go straight to Alibaba platform and order anything literally from anywhere in the world.

“If you get the best wine, fresh cherries, delicious oranges, or world-class skin care products, you can sell them to Chinese consumers who are cashed in at premium prices.

We will need this buyer when the COVID crisis ends. “

In general, this is a tantalizing friendship. Two-way trade between the two countries is worth $ 194.6 billion per year – more than double that of our next largest trading partner, Japan.

Some take matters into their own hands. Last week, business leaders joined the university’s vice chancellor in holding signs that said “Australia welcomes you” as part of a campaign hoping to repair the damage done by diplomatic stoush.

Chinese leader, Xi Jinping
Relations with China were strained amid claims of “foreign interference”. Photo: Getty

China Australia Business Council, University of Sydney and Australia Australia Forum, among others, launched this campaign.

Australia Australia Forum President Jason Yat-Sen Li said the aim was to encourage political dialogue.

“We hear so much about politics around this, but often ordinary people and regular businesses are caught in the crossfire,” he said.

I think many young Chinese-Australians forget it. “

Allan Behm, head of the International Affairs and Security Program at The Australia Institute, says businesses have reason to worry.

“I think business must be considered because when rhetoric replaces common sense everyone is the loser,” Behm said.

Business is a loser, students are a loser, and the government is also a loser because it is left to look impotent. “

The best way to deal with China is the opposite of what we are doing now – smart diplomacy, he said.

“You scream and shoot, but nothing Australia does has a material effect. Better roads are carefully built and professional diplomacy,” Behm said.

“Business is right in saying that the government has to cool it down a little because China and Australia have to work together if we want to produce a recovery in the local economy and that’s the most important thing right now.”

In order for Australia to recover from the recession, we must work together, he said.

“Unless we can all shrug our shoulders and make the global economic system work again, we will have a whole generation of children who will live lives that are far less satisfying than their parents,” he added.

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