Australia complains to China over tariffs on Australian wines

Australia Takes China Wine Tariffs to WTO as Bilateral Ties Sour

Australia Takes China Wine Tariffs to WTO as Bilateral Ties Sour

Australia will appeal to the World Trade Organization regarding China's imposition of anti-dumping duties on the country's wine, the trade minister announced Saturday, the latest move in a long simmering spat that has worsened relations between the two countries.

"We believe that actions taken by the Chinese government have caused serious harm to the Australian wine industry", Trade Minister Dan Tehan told reporters on Saturday.

"What the Australian government would like is to be able to sit down and resolve this dispute directly with China - but if we can't, we are prepared to go through the process", he said.

China is Australia's major trade partner and the biggest market for Australian wine.

China accuses Australia of a trade practice called dumping, which is illegal in global trade law.

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Industry data shows that in the four months from December to March last year, Australian winemakers only exported 12 million Australian dollars (9 million U.S. dollars) of wine to China, compared with 325 million Australian dollars (243 million USA dollars) in the same period last year.

The wine tariffs come after an extensive campaign by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to target key Australian exports, via tariffs or suspensions, after Foreign Minister Marise Payne called for an investigation into the origins of COVID-19 in April 2020.

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On Saturday, the government said that despite the complaint, Canberra was willing to cooperate with Beijing.

"While we're not in a position to do so, we will use every other mechanism to try and resolve this dispute and other disputes that we have with the Chinese government", he said.

The measure was announced days after the G7 summit in the United Kingdom, the seven most industrialized countries, where Australia defended a strong crackdown against China's trade practices.

Australia has already taken action at the WTO over barley tariffs of more than 80% that China imposed previous year.

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

The grouping promised hundreds of billions of dollars in infrastructure investment for low- and middle-income countries in a "Build Back Better World" (B3W) project.

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 the restoration of the global trading body's binding dispute settlement system".

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

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