China complains to WTO over Australia’s trade measures

Amid escalating trade tensions China has made a stunning decision that designed to punish Australia on the world stage.

China has lodged a formal complaint against Australia to the World Trade Organisation marking further escalation in tensions between the two countries.

The suit challenges Australia’s anti-dumping measures on Chinese exports of train wheels, wind turbines and stainless steel sinks. It comes a week after Canberra challenged Beijing’s crippling tariffs on Australian wine exports.

It aims to “safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies”, Chinese commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng said at a media briefing on Thursday.

RELATED: Australia to refer China to WTO over wine tariffs

“We hope that Australia will take concrete actions to correct its wrong practices, avoid distortions in the trade of related products, and bring such trade back to the normal track as soon as possible.”

Australia has imposed tariffs on Chinese-built train wheels and wind turbines since 2019.

China in November announced tariffs of up to 218 per cent on Australian wines, which it said were being “dumped” into the Chinese market at subsidised prices.

The crackdown virtually closed what had been Australia’s biggest overseas wine market, with sales falling from Aus$1.1 billion (US$ 840 million) to just Aus$20 million, according to official figures.

Last week Trade Minister Dan Tehan said Australia would be referring China to the WTO over the “serious harm” its tariffs caused the wine industry.
“We would love to be able to sit down (with China’s government) and be able to resolve these disputes,” Mr Tehan said.

“While we’re not in a position to do so, we will use every other mechanism to try and resolve this dispute and other disputes that we have with the Chinese government.”

On Monday Gao said China “opposes the abuse of trade remedy measures, which not only damages the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies, but also hurts the solemnness and authority of WTO rules”.

But the ti-for-tat measures are widely seen in Canberra as punishment for pushing back against Beijing’s operations to impose influence in Australia, rejecting Chinese investment in sensitive areas and publicly calling for an investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier this month a summit of the G7 advanced economies echoed Australia’s call for a tougher stand against China’s trade practices and its more assertive stance globally.

The leaders’ meeting ended with the announcement of US-led plans to counter China’s trillion-dollar “Belt and Road Initiative”, the hallmark of its efforts to extend economic influence around the world.

The grouping promised hundreds of billions of dollars in infrastructure investment for low- and middle-income countries in a “Build Back Better World”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has warned that his government would respond forcefully to countries trying to use “economic coercion” against Australia.

Beijing has imposed tough economic sanctions on a range of Australian products in recent months, ranging from high tariffs to disruptive practices across several agricultural sectors, coal, wine and tourism.

Last year it introduced more important inspections for lobsters which led to many ending up unsellable due to the wait at Chinese ports.

This meant that seafood companies instead sold lobsters locally at heavily discounted prices which proved popular at Christmas.


The article from the source


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