From a special correspondent

A senior Chinese official has finally revealed the real basis for the country’s trade war with Australia.

 

The official, identified only as SO, said, “Even by the standards we’ve come to expect”,  Australian commentary to date had demonstrated a “shocking ignorance”.

“Portraying the trade management measures we’ve taken as retaliation for Australian criticism of vital land reclamation programs in our maritime domains, or as a response to Australia’s childish behaviour over the origins of Covid-19 is simply absurd. In reality, it all comes down to a question of understanding customer needs and being truthful.”

Pointing to the bottles of Australian wine arrayed on the table in front of her, SO continued. “Take wine, and I do a lot. White wine is meant to be just that. So listen to this.” She picked up a bottle of white wine and read aloud: “Combining honeysuckle yellows, vanilla, peach-kernel and chicken stock, the dry yet buttery characteristics of this blend are sure to delight any palette.”

Her faced flushed with anger, SO just managed to go on: “When we pay over the odds for so-called white wine, which we certainly do now that we’ve imposed a 200 per cent tariff, we don’t expect to be quaffing chicken stock. And just how are our poor customs officials expected to categorise such a product: fruit, dairy, manufactured foodstuff or what?

“The reds are just as bad”, SO continued. She reached for a bottle. “Black current, pepper, grassiness! Just what are they putting into it?”  Staring at the label, she spat, “Yellow tail? That’s a fish, and not a very good eating one at that!

“I could on on”, SO went on, picking up another bottle: “A beautiful purplish hue with a long, silky finish.

We invented silk”, she snapped, “I’m wearing it right now, then lo and behold it turns up in Australian wine!

“Until Australians can tell the difference between red, white, yellow, purple and so on, no Australian wine will enter the country, except the ones I like to drink with my colleagues after a hard day in the office.”

Asked about the ban on Australian lobsters, SO momentarily looked awkward. She took a deep breath before answering. “Actually, we have nothing against Australian lobsters. We love the way they switch instantly to red with the simple addition of boiling water. It was just a typo in the instructions. We actually meant mobsters. We get quite a few of them from Australia too.”

Shaking her head, SO added, “If only other countries would own up to their mistakes as openly as we do.”

“Now to coal,” she continued, sounding ominous. “It presents us with a different problem. We’re sick and tired of black smoke. Quite frankly,  it’s boring us to tears. Why can’t we have some green smoke, my favourite colour incidentally, or maybe orange, though that colour is a bit on the nose at the moment. Red would make a nice, patriotic, change. Is it too much to ask that Australian exporters are sensitive to their customers’ preferences?”

At this point I plucked up courage and asked, “It seems there’s a straightforward explanation for the current tensions, so why won’t you talk to the Australian Trade Minister? He’s been trying to phone you for weeks.”

“Has he?” SO responded with what could have been mistaken for a genuine surprise. “He must be using one of those inferior western mobiles. I’ll send him one of ours. All he has to do is phone me on the latest model Great Call and I promise you he’ll get through in a flash.”

 

 

 

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