Security Challenges
Volume 16, No.4 (2020)

Interrogating Chinese economic coercion: the Australian experience since 2017

This paper begins by critically reviewing the theoretical basis underpinning use of economic coercion to shift a target country’s political positions, drawing attention to the likelihood of success being context-dependent. Six case studies are then documented where a coercive frame is evident in reporting and commentary to interpret Chinese actions taken against Australian exports since 2017. These show that trade impacts of Chinese actions have generally been modest in scale, short-lived and/or significantly mitigated. Canberra’s political positions have also not become more aligned with Beijing’s. The discussion informs assessment of coercive risks consequent to Australia’s trade exposure to China.

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