The tariffs imposed by Beijing have doubled or tripled the price of Australian wine and made the Chinese market unsustainable for exporters.
The Australian government said on Saturday it was filing a formal complaint with the World Trade Organization over China’s imposition of anti-dumping duties on Australian wine exports, further worsen the trade stalemate with Beijing.
“The government will continue to vigorously defend the interests of Australian wine growers by using the established WTO system to resolve our disputes,” Dan Tehan, Minister of Trade, Tourism and Investment, said in a joint press release. with Agriculture Minister David Littleproud. .
Relations with China, already difficult after Australia banned Huawei from its fledgling 5G broadband network in 2018, have deteriorated since Canberra called for an international investigation into the origins of the coronavirus, first reported times in central China last year.
China, Australia’s largest trading partner, responded by imposing tariffs on Australian products, including wine and barley, and limited imports of Australian beef, coal and grapes, measures qualified by the United States of “economic coercion.”
Australia last year made a formal appeal to the WTO to seek a review of China’s decision to impose high tariffs on imports of Australian barley.
Wine prices have doubled or tripled its price and made the Chinese market unsustainable for exporters, the Australian government said earlier.
Australian winemakers shipped just A $ 12 million ($ 9 million) worth of wine to China in the four months of December to March, up from A $ 325 million ($ 243 million) a year earlier, according to industry figures, confirming that new high tariffs have almost wiped out their biggest export market.
“Dispute settlement system”
Earlier in June, Prime Minister Scott Morrison called on the WTO to resolve the impasse between the two countries and days later he garnered the support of the Group of Seven countries for a stronger stance against the impact China’s growing on world trade.
On Saturday, the government said that despite the complaint, Canberra was ready to cooperate with Beijing.
“Australia remains open to engage directly with China to resolve this issue,” Tehan and Littleproud said in their statement.
Saturday’s move came just a week after a summit of the G7 advanced economies group echoed Australia’s call for a stronger stance against China’s trade practices and its more assertive stance on worldwide.
The G7 summit ended on June 12 with the announcement of US-led plans to counter China’s “Belt and Road Initiative”, which marks its efforts to expand its economic influence. in the world.
The consortium has pledged hundreds of billions of dollars in infrastructure investments for low- and middle-income countries in a Project “Rebuilding a Better World” (B3W).
The B3W was seen as aimed squarely at competing with the efforts of China, which was widely criticized for imposing unmanageable debt on small countries.
Morrison attended the summit as part of a G7-plus formula that also brought together leaders from South Korea, South Africa and India, and made it clear he will push other nations to act together against China’s aggressive trade policies.
“The most practical way to fight economic coercion is to restore the binding dispute settlement system of the world trade body,” he said in a speech just before the summit.
“Where there are no consequences for coercive behavior, there is little incentive for restraint,” he said.
Morrison received explicit support in his government’s confrontation with China from the United States, as well as from French President Emmanuel Macron during a visit to Paris after the G7 meeting.