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Tariff dispute between Australia and China is WTO bound

AUSTRALIAN trade minister Simon Birmingham expects Canberra to complain against China to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) soon, reports London's Guardian

03 December 2020 - 19:00
AUSTRALIAN trade minister Simon Birmingham expects Canberra to complain against China to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) soon, reports London's Guardian.

Mr Birmingham feels the trade conflicts threaten global confidence as the world economy struggles to recover from the pandemic.



The dispute began after China believed Australian wine was being dumped in China in August, with the Chinese ministry of commerce announcing tariffs on Australian wine products would make export trade unviable.



'We are working through exactly when and making sure we have the evidence lined up. Last week, through the trading goods committee at the WTO, Australia outlined seriously our range of concerns in terms of this accumulation of instances from China of adverse trade decisions against Australia,' said Mr Birmingham.



'We do see those as a very concerning development. We are calling them out through the WTO, while also still using all of those processes in the Chinese system to try to resolve them, but ultimately, these are Chinese decisions, China has chosen to apply them on Australia, and only China can choose to reverse them,' said Mr Birmingham.



The wine decision isn't expected to be part of any immediate complaint to the WTO, but Birmingham feels it is still a provisional application of tariffs.



Meanwhile, Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said Australia's trade helped the Chinese economy grow.



'We have not changed our position. China has become more assertive and this has created real challenges on the trade front,' said Mr Frydenberg.



'But we will continue to make our case to the Chinese government about the importance of this two-way trading relationship and we are always ready to engage in respectful and mutually beneficial dialogue. The prime minister has made that point and I have made that point continuously,' said Mr Frydenberg.


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