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WTO to investigate China’s tariffs on Australian wine imports

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The World Commerce Group (WTO) has agreed to study China’s tariffs on imported Australian wine, amid ongoing political and financial tensions.

Australia referred China to the worldwide commerce umpire earlier this yr, arguing Beijing’s decision to impose tariffs of up to 220 per cent had caused “serious harm” to Australia’s wine industry.

The dispute settlement physique, which met behind closed doorways on Tuesday, agreed to Australia’s second request after its first try was blocked by China in September.

It’s the third time Australia has sought WTO motion over an agricultural commodity in lower than a yr, and it follows the federal authorities’s WTO referral over Chinese barley tariffs in December 2020.  

Old, gnarled vines are sprouting leaves at the start of spring. Grass grows between the rows. It's a sunny day
Australian wine exports to China have slumped within the wake of the tariffs being imposed.(ABC Rural: Megan Hughes)

Commerce tensions, already rocky after Australia banned Chinese telecommunication giant Huawei from its 5G wireless network in 2018, worsened after Canberra referred to as for a global inquiry into the origins of coronavirus.

China responded by imposing tariffs on Australian wine and barley and limiting imports of Australian beef, coal and grapes, strikes described by america as “financial coercion”.

In March, Beijing confirmed the tariffs would apply for five years, placing an finish to what had been the wine business’s most profitable commerce.

China defended its choice, saying Australian winemakers bought wine under the price of manufacturing and it had been subsidised.

Australia’s wine exports to China have fallen since the tariffs had been launched final November.

Within the six months to June this yr, Australia exported just $13 million worth of wine to China, in comparison with $490 million over the identical interval final yr. 

A WTO logo next to a red traffic light.
WTO panels usually deliberate for six months earlier than ruling on commerce disputes.(Reuters: Denis Balibouse)

China to ‘vigorously defend’ tariffs 

Explaining its choice to hunt a WTO investigation, Australia’s delegate voiced disappointment China had not taken concrete steps to reply to its issues, according to a summary of the meeting published by the WTO.

Australia remained open to additional discussions with China with a view to resolving the problems, it added.

“China regrets that Australia determined to additional its panel request with regard to the dispute,” China’s delegate stated in a press release.

“China will vigorously defend its professional measures within the following proceedings and is assured that its challenged measures are according to related WTO guidelines.”

WTO panels usually deliberate for six months earlier than getting ready a ruling. Events can then lodge an enchantment in opposition to the result.


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