Australia responds to China‘s new move


Australia has vowed to “robustly” defend itself after China requested the World Trade Organisation step in to mediate a dispute between the two nations.

Beijing has requested a panel of the WTO be established to hear claims regarding Australia’s anti-dumping and countervailing measures on stainless steel sinks, railway wheels and wind towers.

The panel is the next step in a WTO dispute settlement process.

In a statement, Trade Minister Dan Tehan said he respected Beijing‘s right to air complaints with the trade body.

“We are confident our measures are consistent with Australia‘s WTO obligations and will robustly defend them,” he said on Saturday.

“Australia is a strong supporter of the rules-based multilateral trading system and we respect the right of any WTO Member to take its concerns to the WTO. We remain ready to resolve this matter through further discussions with China.”

Relations between Beijing and Canberra have continued to sour, fuelled by several disputes over tariffs on Australian wine, barley, lobster and coal exports.

Australia’s decision to sign an agreement for nuclear submarines with America and the United Kingdom has also stoked tensions.

Treasury estimates China’s trade restrictions have cost Australian exporters about $5.4bn in exports over the past year.

Just last month, Chinese officials accused Australia of putting the trading relationship at risk by violating trade and investment rules.

The comments followed questioning from Australian officials about the delays to renewing import licenses for Australian agricultural exporters.

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