Australia advances the next phase of the WTO wine conflict with China


Australia will advance the next phase of the ongoing World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute with China over punitive tariffs on wine exports to the country.

Trade Minister Dan Tehan asks Australia to set up a dispute resolution panel for the WTO to rule anti-dumping obligations on wine exports as part of a year-long economic coercion campaign instigated by Beijing. He said he would request it.

“Australia supports a rules-based trading system, which is the next step in the WTO dispute resolution process following talks between Australia and China,” Tehan said in an announcement on the evening of September 16. ..

“Australia is ready to resolve this issue directly through discussions with China,” he said. “We continue to defend the rights of Australian exporters.”

On June 19, the federal government decided to proceed with WTO measures against Beijing’s tariffs (107.1-212.1%) among various Australian winemakers.

This follows previous government action on barley tariffs (equivalent to about 80%), which has also advanced to the dispute resolution panel stage. The panel was just established last week.

Epoch Times Photo
Trade Minister Dan Tehan speaks to the media at a press conference in Sydney, Australia, on May 21, 2021. (AAP Image / Joel Carrett)

The government launched a large-scale Chinese Communist Party (CCP) campaign targeting Australian exports with tariffs, suspensions, or regulatory hurdles after Foreign Minister Marise Payne called for an investigation into the origin of COVID-19 in April 2020. It corresponds to a part of.

Other affected industries include coal, beef, lobster, wood, lamb and cotton.

Regarding the current WTO actions, the dispute resolution committee will listen to discussions from stakeholders and investigate the dispute. The interim and final reports are submitted to the dispute resolution body, which makes the final decision (based on the results of the report).

There are many possible solutions, such as the Australian ruling and the support of China.

In favor of Australia, Beijing may be ordered to eliminate tariffs or negotiate compensation payments. If this fails, Australia may be granted permission by the WTO to retaliate in kind with its own tariffs.

The whole process takes several months. However, one hurdle, the final appeal process, gets in the way.

The WTO has a senior committee of seven members. “Support, correction, or reversal” Conflict resolution agency investigation results.

The Appellate Body has been frozen since 2019 after the former US administration opposed appointing new members because of problems with the WTO’s decision-making process.

The European Union and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison recognized the imperfect nature of the WTO and called for a move to modify the organization.

However, during that time, the dispute can be “invalidated”, effectively stagnating the process and “killing”, according to Professor Peter Draper, Executive Secretary of the University of South Australia’s Institute for International Trade.

But he said Australia’s motive for launching the WTO action was not to get a resolution, but to reveal Beijing’s actions on the world stage.

“The process and the publication of the report will be revealed. As they say,” Sunlight is the best disinfectant. “In this case, I think the Australian Government is aiming for that,” he told The Epoch Times. Told.

Immediately after the WTO filed a wine dispute in June, Beijing imposed import tariffs on wind farms in 2014 (equivalent to 10.9%) and Australian tariffs on Chinese products such as railroads several years ago. We responded with a series of WTO measures. Wheels in 2015 (17.4%), stainless steel sinks in 2019 (60.2%).

Treasury Minister Simon Birmingham called the move “trivial.”

Daniel Y. Ten

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