Reports have been circulating that China has gone cold on negotiations to open its ports to live cattle imports following disparaging comments from controversial politician and businessman, Clive Palmer.
Palmer made the comments on the ABC network’s Q&A program last week where he labelled the Chinese government as “mongrels” that “shoot their own people”.
WA premier Colin Barnett said that Palmers comments threatened to compromise talks with China on a free trade agreement, The West reports.
"We are already seeing some evidence of them pushing back on live cattle exports," said Barnett.
"There is some hesitancy and cooling of relations."
Barnett said that he doubts Palmers comments will have a lasting effect of relations between the two countries, however those who believe his comments don’t matter are “naive”.
Palmer yesterday issued an apology to the Chinese ambassador to Australia, Ma Zhaoxu.
"In keeping an open mind, I now come to the realisation that what I said on Q&A was an insult to Chinese people everywhere and I wish to assure them they have my most genuine and sincere apology," the apology read.
"It is in the interest of the whole world that Australia and China have good relations."
Live cattle exports to China have been of key interest to Mining billionaire Andrew Forrest, who announced earlier this year that he had formed the Australia-Sino 100 Year Agricultural Partnership to boost trade which has the backing of the Business Council of Australia and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.
Forrest is also reported to have been discussing the initiative with the world’s largest meat protein supplier, China’s WH Group.