Australia taking China to WTO over wine duties

Australia taking China to WTO over wine duties

Australia taking China to WTO over wine duties

Trade Minister Dan Tehan said exports had dropped from $1.1 billion to about $20 million as a result of the duties the Chinese government placed on the country's wine.

China claims Australian winemakers were dumping huge quantities of cheap product on their market subsidised by the government - a practice known as "dumping" used to increase market share.

"The government will continue to vigorously defend the interests of Australian wine makers and use the established WTO to resolve our differences", Minister of Trade, Tourism and Investment Danthanzai and Minister of Agriculture David Little Proud in a joint news Said in the draft.

Australian wine exports to China collapsed to just $12 million in the four months that ended on March 31 from $325 million in the same period a year earlier.

Tehan acknowledged that the dispute process within the WTO was hard and estimated it would take two to four years for any resolution.

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.

Last week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said G7 leaders shared the view that the world should avoid a Cold War with Beijing.

The decision follows "extensive consultation with Australia's winemakers", it said in a statement, adding that "Australia remains open to engaging directly with China to resolve this issue".

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on 15 June 2021 in London
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on 15 June 2021 in London. MATT DUNHAM AP

Despite criticisms of the WTO dispute process in the past, Mr Tehan maintained he is confident the WTO could resolve the dispute.

"Australia's use of the WTO in this matter is consistent with its previous use of the WTO and aligns with our support for the rules-based trading system", Tehan's office said.

Australia is now progressing a WTO action Beijing's decision to slap 80 percent tariffs on barley exports, the action has been joined by Canada, Russia, and more recently New Zealand.

Beef, barley, lobster, wine, and coal were hit with measures such sky-high taxes - effectively banning Australian exports of the products.

The World Trade Organization headquarters in Geneva on April 12, 2018.

The decision came after long-running issues with its operation including judicial overreach by its members, consistent rulings against USA tariffs created to protect American businesses, and slow decision-making. The United States calls this "economic coercion".

"The most practical way to address economic coercion is the restoration of the global trading body's binding dispute-settlement system", he said in a speech just ahead of the summit.

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