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China this week escalated its economic coercion against Australia by imposing two tariffs on the import of Australian barley. The first is a 73.6 percent tariff on the agricultural product and the second an additional 6.9 percent arguing that the Australian government subsidizes its farmers to grow this lucrative crop.

Seen in tandem with the beef import ban on four Australian slaughterhouses, Beijing is pressuring Canberra hard to drop its calls for an independent COVID-19 investigation and enforcing economic pain on Australia for what Beijing perceives as intolerable behavior to a country that has “benefited so profoundly” from trade with China.

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