Australia prepares to lodge a World Trade Organisation dispute over anti-dumping duties on wine
- Australian government said on Saturday they will go to WTO over China wine tax
- Minister Dan Tehan said he hopes World Trade Organization can resolve dispute
- China in 2020 brought in a tariff on Australian wine of up to 200 per cent
- The move has devastated Australia’s winemakers and their export industry
- China also raised tariffs on other exports like barley in ongoing trade pressure
China’s 200 per cent tax on Australian wine, crippling the industry, has prompted the government to go to the World Trade Organization in an attempt to solve the trade dispute.
The decision to commence a dispute resolution process announced on Saturday was given the greenlight following extensive consultation with Australian wine makers, Trade Minister Dan Tehan said.
Mr Tehan said the process is standard procedure and available to any WTO member as a means to resolve trade disputes in a respectful manner.
Australian-made wine for sale in a store in Beijing. The Chinese Ministry of Commerce previously introduced a tariff between 107.1 per cent and 212.1 per cent on the alcohol product
Wild Cattle Creek Estate (pictured), in Victoria, was bought by Chinese investors for $8.5 million in 2018
Mr Tehan says the decision is consistent with the government’s previous use of the WTO and aligns with Australia’s support for a rules-based trading system.
At the same time, Australia remains open to engaging directly with China to resolve this issue.
Australia has already complained to the WTO over China’s blocking of barley, one of several commodities that have become entangled in the growing rift between the countries.
Mr Tehan said last month the government was considering whether to act on its complaint over China putting huge tariffs on wine exports, a move which had virtually wiped out exports.
Hillcrest Winery and Distillery was bought by Chinese investors in 2018 for $4.6 million
‘We’ve always said that we would take a very principled approach when dealing with these trade disputes, and if we think our industry has been harmed or injured, we will take all necessary steps and measures to try to address that,’ he told the ABC at the time.
Asked whether Beijing’s possible retaliation to such actions was part of the government’s considerations, Mr Tehan said China and all other countries use the dispute settlement mechanism of the WTO.
‘This is a normal course of dealing with these disputes,’ he said.
‘So, what we want to do is make sure that we have a very strong legal case to be able to take to the World Trade Organisation, because obviously if you take a case, you want to do your best to try to win it.’