Australia take wine dispute with China to WTO

Lawrence Kim
June 19, 2021

The Australian Federal Government has confirmed it is taking China to the World Trade Organisation over the anti-dumping duties it has imposed on Australian wine. Further escalate the trade deadlock with Beijing.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison's vocal push for an worldwide inquiry into the origins of Covid in 2020, eventually backed by 120 countries, caused tensions to rise between China and Australia.

After Australia banned Huawei from accessing its nascent 5G broadband network in 2018, relations with China have deteriorated.

Mr Tehan said last month the government was considering whether to act on the complaint over China putting huge tariffs on Australian wine, a move which had virtually wiped out exports.

"A well-functioning WTO that sets clear rules arbitrates disputes objectively and efficiently and penalises bad behaviour when it occurs: this can be one of the most powerful tools the global community has to counter economic coercion", he told the Perth USAsia Centre on June 8.

Australia has already complained to the WTO over China's blocking of barley, one of several commodities that have become entangled in the growing rift between the countries.

"We believe that the actions taken by the Chinese government have caused serious harm to the Australian wine industry", he said. It proved that the high new tariffs have nearly wiped out their largest export market.

Prior to Morrison's recent trip to the United Kingdom to take part in Group of Seven (G-7) Plus discussions, he said he would call on the grouping to fix the WTO so it can prevent economic coercion from being used as a tool by nation states.

On Saturday, the government stated that Canberra was still prepared to cooperate with Beijing despite complaints.

"Australia remains open to engaging directly with China to resolve this issue".

Saturday's move came just a week after a G7 group of advanced economies echoed Australia's call for a tougher stance against China's trade practices and its more assertive stance on world level.

The G7 summit ended on June 12 with the announcement of USA -led plans to counter China's "Road and Belt Initiative", the hallmark of its efforts to extend economic influence throughout the world. world.

The B3W was seen as aimed squarely at competing with China's efforts, which has been widely criticised for saddling small countries with unmanageable debt.

"The most practical way to address economic coercion is to restore the world trade body's binding conflict resolution system", he said in a speech just before the summit.

"If the coercive behavior has no consequences, then there is very little motivation to restrain", he said.

Morrison has received explicit backing in his government's confrontation with China from the U.S. as well as from French President Emmanuel Macron during a visit to Paris following the G7 meeting.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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