Australia continues reeling from its ongoing trade war with China, lately seeing retaliatory tariffs cause the price of wine to double or triple in China, essentially wiping out Australia’s biggest export market.
And now the Aussie government is lodging a formal complaint with the World Trade Organization – specifically over its imposition of anti-dumping duties on Australian wines.
Saturday’s announcement marks yet another major escalation, with minister for trade, tourism and investment Dan Tehan stating alongside Agriculture Minister David Littleproud: “The government will continue to vigorously defend the interests of Australian wine makers using the established system in the WTO to resolve our differences.”
Canberra further said the decision comes after “extensive consultation with Australia’s winemakers” and added that “Australia remains open to engaging directly with China to resolve this issue.”
Tehan further told a public broadcaster: “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.”
The ongoing tensions were triggered last year after Canberra started seeking a probe into the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, now no doubt exacerbated by calls for investigating Wuhan’s labs lately going mainstream among Western allies. The demand led the Chinese diplomats in Australia hinting at “economic coercion” of Australian goods by Chinese companies.
Saturday’s complaint to the WTO follows last year’s formal appeal to the global trade dispute body over China’s imposition of steep tariffs on imports of Australian barley.
Breaking- the Federal Government confirms it WILL take China to the WTO over crippling tariffs placed on Australian wine. This has been expected for several weeks now pic.twitter.com/uuLLv70HX6
— Stephen Dziedzic (@stephendziedzic) June 19, 2021
Australia has since the whole spat started endured severe collateral damage on everything from seafood to coal to barley to wine to beef, and tourism sectors – along with hitting some other commodities, even timber.
Canberra has frequently voiced its “readiness” to resume dialogue with Beijing yet there’s been no substantial breakthrough, particularly as the US has pushed its allies – most recently at the G7 summit in the UK – to take a tougher line on rolling back China’s influence.