Australia to challenge China at the WTO as tensions escalate

Australia to challenge China at the WTO as tensions escalate

In a press briefing on Tuesday, spokesperson for China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Wang Wenbin said the ban was "in line with Chinese laws, regulations and global practices", going as far as to call it "a responsible act for Chinese domestic industries and consumers".

Wang said that he and his colleagues have stated China's position on individual trade cases many times. Australia's decision to ban Chinese tech giant Huawei from its 5G telecommunications network because of national security concerns prompted anger in China, as did Canberra's allegations of political interference and cyber-espionage.

China has launched trade strikes and sanctions against a range of Australian goods including beef, barley, wine, seafood and timber.

"Australia and Australian agriculture is heavily reliant on trade, with more than 70 per cent of farmgate output exported".

China also claims Australia has discriminated against Chinese companies - in violation of worldwide trade rules - by hampering their ability to invest in Australia.

After weeks without a direct answer from Beijing, Chinese authorities have finally addressed the country's ongoing import ban on Australian coal. Experts believe Australia is being pressured by China to alter its foreign policy.

The trade fight between China and Australia appears to be escalating, with Beijing reportedly placing new restrictions on imports of Australian coal.

Morrison said Tuesday that Australia sends 4 billion Australian dollars ($3 billion) worth of thermal coal to China each year, adding that Japan is a bigger market than China for those exports.

But Birmingham said: "We have a series of different actions that China has taken during the course of the year and each come with slightly different criteria for how you might respond at the WTO".

"We have previously taken action against Canada with respect to the treatment of our wine and achieved a positive outcome, and we are now involved in action against India on sugar".

China hit Australian barley with tariffs of over 80% in May after accusing the country of dumping the grain and subsidizing its growers.

The Federal Government is working with Australian exporters to find alternative markets.

The Global Times also published an opinion piece that labelled Australia an "anti-China pioneer" with a "sense of anxiety" about being invaded.

The effective block on sales to China also comes as Australian barley production is expected to hit almost 12 million tonnes this crop year, after rain revived some of the biggest growing regions following years of drought.

Australian barley and wine have both been slapped with crippling tariffs following accusations of dumping, which have been rejected by Senator Birmingham. Langcake told CNN Business earlier this month that restrictions on such exports are unlikely, given how reliant China's steel industry is on them.

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