The Australian Government has said it will initiate a dispute settlement process at the World Trade Organization (WTO), in response to China’s increased duties on Australian wine imports.
In a joint statement the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, the Hon Dan Tehan MP, and the Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, the Hon David Littleproud MP, said the decision to commence the dispute resolution process was taken following extensive consultation with Australia’s winemakers.
The Ministers said: “The WTO dispute resolution process is available to any WTO member as a means to resolve trade disputes in a respectful manner.
“Australia’s use of the WTO in this matter is consistent with its previous use of the WTO and aligns with our support for the rules-based trading system.
“Australia remains open to engaging directly with China to resolve this issue.
“The Australian Government would like to thank Australia’s wine makers for their constructive engagement on this issue and their continued cooperation.
“The Government will continue to vigorously defend the interests of Australian wine makers using the established system in the WTO to resolve our differences.”
The move has been welcomed by Australian Grape & Wine, with Chief Executive, Tony Battaglene, saying: “We believe the Australian Government’s decision to initiate this process is the right call for Australia’s grape and wine businesses.
“As an export-focused industry, Australia’s grape growers and winemakers have benefited enormously from the rules-based international trading system, with the WTO at its core. In taking this decision, the Australian Government is demonstrating its commitment to Australia’s grape and wine businesses and respecting the rules-based international trading system.
“We have been consistent in our position that Australian producers have not dumped wine on the Chinese market, nor received trade-distorting subsidies. We believe the Australian Government’s decision to ask the WTO to undertake an independent assessment of the facts is the right course to take.
“While this process is underway, we’ll keep working with grape growers, winemakers and the Australian Government, to diversify our export markets and strengthen relationships as much as possible with all trading partners, including China.”
China imposed the ‘anti-dumping’ tariffs on Australian wine in November last year after China’s Ministry of Commerce said it had conducted an anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigation into Australian wine.