Australia is to take action in the World Trade Organization over China’s imposition of anti-dumping duties on wine.
The decision to commence a dispute resolution process was taken following extensive consultation with Australian wine makers, Trade Minister Dan Tehan said on Saturday.
He said the process is available to any WTO member as a means to resolve trade disputes in a respectful manner.
Mr Tehan said 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.
“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 Organization, because obviously if you take a case, you want to do your best to try to win it.”