Under a deal inked between the nations in January, China was due to make US$50 billion in agricultural goods from the United States in the second half this year.
Mr McGowan said CBH were “victims of a bigger issue”.
A lot of our wealth – the Audis you see driving around the streets, the beautiful houses, the savings of people, anyone who works in the mining industry – is built on our trading relationships, particularly with China.
WA Premier Mark McGowan
“I would just urge the Commonwealth government to reset the relationship with China,” he said.
“From 1972 until really the last couple of years, we build a lot of our jobs and a lot of our exports on the world’s fastest growing and biggest market, which is China.
“A lot of our wealth – the Audis you see driving around the streets, the beautiful houses, the savings of people, anyone who works in the mining industry – is built on our trading relationships, particularly with China.”
Mr McGowan said it would be “particularly galling” if WA lost its grain markets to the United States.
“I just say to everyone in the Commonwealth government, it needs to be a number one priority to get back onto a proper footing with our biggest trading partner, frankly what’s going to be the biggest economy in the world with a decade or so, because it’s in our interests as a state that has a massive trade surplus to be in that position,” he said.
“We shouldn’t damage that lightly and if there are diplomatic issues, and I understand there are, they should be dealt with diplomatically.”
Having previously been one of the nation’s sharpest critics of Canberra’s policy attitude towards Beijing, he had dialled back his rhetoric when China retaliated against Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s push for a global coronavirus inquiry, saying “foreign policy is decided by the Commonwealth government”.
“We accept that, it’s a given: whatever Australia’s foreign policy is, we accept and agree with,” Mr McGowan said in May.
Perth USAsia Centre research director Jeffrey Wilson said the message from China was “loud and clear and terrifying”.
“Even though the dollar impact today is zero, it is actually a signal saying, ‘We are willing to use what has previously been an honour-based system to whack the shit out of you’,” he said.
“It is a muscle flex but it is also saying, we are going to play ball with something that nobody has played ball with before.
“Every exporter and every major agribusiness in Australia is going to be thinking now, ‘What if they did that to us?’ We have no leg to stand on and can’t litigate.”
Dr Wilson said the political intent of the ban was to get the farming sector to lobby the Morrison government within Australia for a less confrontational policy toward China.
with Hamish Hastie
Nathan is WAtoday’s political reporter and the winner of the 2019 Arthur Lovekin Prize for Excellence in Journalism.