Australia says will seek WTO panel to resolve barley dispute with China

·2-min read
Australian and Chinese flags
Australian and Chinese flags

Canberra [Australia] May 29 (ANI): Australia has said it is approaching World Trade Organization (WTO) to establish a dispute settlement panel to resolve concerns about anti-dumping and countervailing duties imposed on Australian barley by China.

Australian Trade Minister Dan Tehan announced on Friday that the government is taking the next step in its first WTO claim against Beijing for its tariffs on barley.

The Sydney Herald reported that China has so far declined to establish the dispute settlement panel. So, Australia is turning to the WTO to confirm its intent on progressing with the claim.

Tehan said Australia remained open to further discussions with China with a view to resolving the dispute over barley, but would "continue to vigorously defend the interests of Australian barley producers" at the WTO.

"The establishment of the panel is the next step in the WTO's dispute resolution process. The next phase of the process is the appointment of individuals to the panel to adjudicate the dispute," Tehan said.

"The anti-dumping and countervailing duties on Australian barley have effectively stopped Australia's barley trade with China."

Beijing imposed a range of tariffs and trade strikes on Australian products including barley, wine, beef, lobster and timber.

Australia first announced it was launching WTO action against China on the barley tariffs in December last year.

The Sydney Herald reported that China has so far declined to establish the dispute settlement panel. So, Australia is turning to the WTO to confirm it is intent on progressing with the claim.

Tensions between China and Australia have escalated over a slew of issues.

Recently, China's National Development and Reform Commission said it would "indefinitely suspend" all activities under the China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue, a forum launched in 2014 and last convened in 2017, reported South China Morning Post (SCMP).

The Chinese agency said the decision was made because of Australia's "Cold War mindset and ideological discrimination" that had disrupted cooperation.

Australia recently cancelled agreements to participate in China's Belt and Road Initiative, terming it as "inconsistent with country's foreign policy".

China has dubbed Australia's decision to scrap the controversial Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) agreement with Beijing as "unreasonable and provocative", warning that this would further "damage" bilateral relations. (ANI)

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