Chinese customs put the pinch on a shipment of Australian lobsters over the weekend - and now coal, wine and timber will soon follow.
The authoritarian regime is continuing to target Australian exports as tensions between Beijing and Canberra worsen in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
All Chinese companies have been informally instructed by the Communist Party to stop buying Australian barley, sugar, red wine, logs, coal, lobster and copper from Friday.
That means any of these products that arrive after Friday will not be cleared by customs, as China looks to turn the screws on Australia's largest export market, worth over $150billion export.
All Chinese companies have been informally instructed by the Communist Party to stop buying Australian barley, sugar, red wine, logs, coal, lobster and copper from Friday (pictured, an employee stacks Australian made wine on shelves in Beijing)
Diplomatic relations between Australia and China have deteriorated significantly during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Pictured: Xi Jinping (left) and Scott Morrison (right)
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud on Monday revealed about $2million worth of live Western Australian rock lobsters were seized by customs agents in Shanghai for extra checks.
The apparent attempt to harm Australian exporters comes after Australia-China relations rapidly deteriorated following Prime Minister Scott Morrison's call for an independent international inquiry into the origins of coronavirus in April, which was first identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
Since April, China has already slapped an 80 per cent tariff on Australian barley, suspended beef and cotton imports, and told students and tourists not to travel Down Under.
The General Administration of Customs of China issued a warning notice to exporters claiming to have found an invasive pest known as the bark beetle Ips grandicollis, in logs imported from Queensland.
China says the 'biohazard' is the reason for the ban, the South China Morning Post reported.
The opaque totalitarian nation made a similar claim about Australian grain exporter Emerald Grain, with tenuous evidence.
China has enacted a freeze on all Australian thermal and coking coal shipments (pictured, an Australian mine worker at Central Queensland's Caval Ridge coal mine)
Trade tensions with China have been rumbling for several months. (pictured, Chinese military police officers in Beijing on October 23)
This time they declared that a ban needed to be enforced after finding 'a grasslike weed' called bromus rigidus in the shipment.
Mr Littleproud said China singled out checking the lobsters after finding trace amounts of heavy metals.
'As we understand that they have actually now imposed an inspection of all quantities, from 50 to 100 per cent, of rock lobster that's going into China,' he told the ABC.
'They are saying they want to understand if there are trace elements of minerals and metals in it and we will quite clearly demonstrate, because we test before they go, that is not the case.
'So we are asking why the action is being taken against Australian rock lobster.'
Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said China was discriminating against Australian exports and breaching the 2015 free trade agreement between the nations.
China is holding up Australian lobsters at airports as trade tensions between the two nations escalate. Pictured: A worker packs rock lobster in Perth
Tonnes of live lobsters - which are unlikely to survive a delay of more than 48 hours - have been left on airport runways. Pictured: Lobsters being loaded at Perth Airport
'All importers should be subjected to equivalent standards and there should be no discriminatory screening practices,' he said.
Last year 94 per cent of Australia's $752million rock lobster exports - mostly from South Australia and Western Australia - went to China.
In August Beijing accused Australian exporters of selling wine in China at an artificially low price to stamp out competition and increase market share, a practice known as 'dumping'.sonos sonos One (Gen 2) - Voice Controlled Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa Built-in - Black read more
The dumping allegations came after Chinese Ambassador Cheng Jingye made economic threats