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Taking China to WTO does not ensure a win: Oz minister

AUSTRALIAN Trade Minister Simon Birmingham has expressed confidence in Australia's 'strong case' against China at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), reports the Australian Broadcasting Corporation

22 December 2020 - 19:00
AUSTRALIAN Trade Minister Simon Birmingham has expressed confidence in Australia's 'strong case' against China at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), reports the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

But Mr Birmingham also said any outcome from the WTO may take years and victory against China is not assured.



A WTO is meant to issue its decision within nine months, but it usually takes much more time. If the panel's decision is appealed, the Appellate Body is meant to make its decisions within 90 days, but nor is this time frame met in many cases, said the ABC report.



At issue, is the five-year 80.5 per cent barley tariff China imposed in May. More than half of all Australian barley exports in 2019 were sold to China, worth about A$600 million (US$457.4 million) a year to Australian farmers.



Chinese authorities began an anti-dumping investigation into Australian barley in November 2018. Anti-dumping trade rules are meant to protect local producers from unfair competition from 'dumped' imported goods.



Dumping occurs where a firm sells goods in an overseas market at a price lower than the normal value of the goods. China calculated the normal value of barley using 'best information available' on the grounds that Australian producers and exporters failed to provide all information Chinese investigators requested.



The barley tariff will last for five years unless Chinese investigators initiate a review and decide to extend it beyond 2025.



The WTO has found China's use of similar methods in several past disputes breached WTO rules. But every case depends on very specific facts. The past rulings against China do not necessarily predict the result here.


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