European clothing manufacturers are speaking out against cotton from Xinjiang and, as a result, are facing a boycott of the Chinese market – with a loud drumbeat from the government. Canberra stands up to Beijing and refuses to interfere in national affairs, whereupon several Australian industries are hit by import duties, import boycotts, and massive negative campaigns by the Chinese government. It is becoming clear that international conflicts are increasingly being fought with economic means of pressure. The European Union now wants to arm itself against precisely such economic blackmail – with the “anti-coercion instrument”, which is intended to enable a rapid response to coercive economic measures, Brussels plans to take action against practices by non-EU countries that attempt to pressure the EU or member states into taking or withdrawing certain policy measures.
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