Tariffs on imported railway wheels, stainless steel sinks and wind towers are the subject of World Trade Organisation (WTO) action Beijing launched recently.
Finance Minister Simon Birmingham is confident Australia's anti-dumping regime will stand up in the case which could take between two to four years. 'I'd call it more petty than provocative, to be honest,' he told ABC radio. 'We don't think China will find it has any sort of strong case in the action it is taking.'
The move came after Australia complained to the WTO about punitive wine tariffs which have smashed Australian producers and exports.
The WTO is also considering an Australian complaint about measures that effectively stopped barley exports to its biggest trading partner.
Senator Birmingham said the barley and wine decisions were appalling given that no subsidies were given to Australian farmers.
Trade Minister Dan Tehan said anti-dumping measures were implemented based on a detailed analysis of Australian industry. 'We'll robustly defend this dispute,' he told the ABC.
He said only the Chinese government could answer whether it was retaliation but noted the normal diplomatic convention of providing advance notice had not been followed.
'We have said all the time that we want to sit down and work through these disputes. There may be things we can't agree to, but the best thing is dialogue,' Mr Tehan said, reports The West Australian.