The Coalition government’s much ballyhooed free trade agreement (FTA) with China -- since upgraded to the bizarre-sounding Comprehensive Strategic Partnership -- appears to be in tatters after Chinese government edicts indicated that a ban of $6 billion in coal, wine, lobster, wood, sugar, barley and copper has been eyed by authorities.
The FTA and its successor, which has nothing to do with any strategic agreement but is merely a diplomatic fiction, has been the cornerstone of the Coalition’s China policy since it was fast-tracked by the Abbott government following the 2013 election.
But shortly after the FTA was signed in 2015, Canberra began steadily increasing its pushback against Beijing’s regional adventurism, which has seen the Chinese military build bases in disputed areas of the South China Sea. Scott Morrison was so disturbed at the ructions created by Malcolm Turnbull and his foreign minister Julie Bishop that he promised a "reset". This turned out to be just more marketing from the PM.