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Australia leads China to WTO




Australia will take over China before the World Trade Organization over Beijing imposes crippling tariffs on Australian wine exports, it announced on Saturday, in the latest sign of deteriorating tensions between the two countries.

The decision to protect winemakers in Australia comes six months after Australia filed a separate protest at the WTO over tariffs on Australian barley and is in line with government support for the rule-based trading system, she said in a statement.

He added, however, that Australia remains open to engaging directly with China to resolve the issue.

It’s the latest incident in an escalating row between Australia and its biggest trading partner and following warnings from Prime Minister Scott Morrison that his government would respond forcefully to countries trying to use economic coercion against it.


China in November hit tariffs of up to 218% on Australian wines, which it said were being thrown into the Chinese market at subsidized prices. The shock virtually closed what had been Australia’s largest overseas wine market, with sales falling from $ 1.1 billion Aus ($ 840 million) to just $ 20 million Aus, according to official figures. The actions taken by the Chinese government have caused serious damage to the Australian wine industry, said Trade Minister Dan Tehan.

We would like to be able to sit down and be able to resolve these disputes directly with the Chinese, he said, but added that lower-level official contacts had failed to make progress. We will use any other mechanism to test and resolve this dispute and other disputes we have with the Chinese government, he said.

Tehan acknowledged that the dispute process within the WTO was difficult and estimated that it would take two to four years for any settlement. Beijing has imposed tough economic sanctions on a range of Australian products in recent months, ranging from high tariffs to disruptive practices across some agricultural, coal, wine and tourism sectors.

The measures are widely seen in Australia as punishment for delaying Beijing operations to impose influence in Australia, rejecting Chinese investment in sensitive areas and calling for a public inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. Saturday’s move came just a week after a G7 summit of advanced economies echoed Australia’s call for a tougher stance against China’s trade practices and its more persistent stance globally.

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