Scott Morrison needs to step up his response to Chinese trade threats, the Opposition Leader has said.

The Australian-Chinese trade relationship has frozen over recently, with Beijing threatening to slap import bans on more than $6 billion in Aussie commodities.

Exporters of seafood, red wine, copper ore, sugar, timber and barley are on alert following reports that products arriving after Friday will not be cleared by customs.

The Chinese government also issued a blistering statement through a state-sanctioned newspaper on Friday with the headline "Canberra only has itself to blame".

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s government has made trade threats against Australia. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s government has made trade threats against Australia. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

"It is Canberra that has undermined what were previously sound and mutually beneficial ties by prejudicially fuelling anti-China sentiment at home, baselessly sanctioning Chinese companies and aggressively sending warships to China's doorsteps," the editorial in China Daily read.

Anthony Albanese said he had spoken to Australian business leaders who he said were "desperate" for the Morrison government to "step up".

"The government needs to plan to deal with this issue because it has real-world consequences for Australian jobs, Australian business and the Australian economy," Mr Albanese told reporters.

Anthony Albanese has said Australia needs a plan to handle Chinese trade threats. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage
Anthony Albanese has said Australia needs a plan to handle Chinese trade threats. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage

"Australia of course has a trade agreement with China, and it is extraordinary that these threats are being made."

Mr Albanese accused the Prime Minister of not being proactive enough, saying Scott Morrison was acting more like "the prime observer".

"It would appear that the government continues to sit back and watch events unfold without a plan for intervention. Australian jobs are at stake, and the government needs to do more than just observe what's going on."

Mr Morrison has said his government is working to get clarity into the situation.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said he was concerned over the situation with China. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said he was concerned over the situation with China. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage

"I can only take that at face value, out of the respect of the comprehensive strategic partnership we have with China," he said on Thursday.

"Those issues are matters that the Trade Minister and I, obviously, have concerns about.

"(We) are working closely with industry to pursue the appropriate channels within the relationship … to get some clarity and some resolution."

Originally published as 'Prime observer: Albo's swipe at ScoMo


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