Australia & China: Australian government continuing with plans to take China to WTO over barley exports
As tension grows over Beijing's massive tariffs on Australian wine, the Federal Government is continuing with plans to take China to the World Trade Organization (WTO) over barley exports, ABC News reported on November 29.
In May, China began threatening to slap the tariffs on the barley industry, as a result of "an ongoing anti-dumping and countervailing duties investigation".
Trade Minister Simon Birmingham has detailed appeals the Government has made through China's domestic processes to overturn the decision and limit the impact on the $1.5 billion barley trade with China.
"We sought to engage in good faith," Senator Birmingham told the Insiders program on November 29.
"We are disappointed that all the evidence, as compelling as we are confident it is, was rejected by the Chinese authorities and that appeal was unsuccessful."
Senator Birmingham said the WTO appeal was the next step.
"I expect that will be the outcome," he said.
The industry itself is split over whether the escalation of the trade conflict is the right course of action.
"There are different opinions, to be quite frank there," Senator Birmingham said.
"But on the whole Australia stands by the rules-based system for international trade and if you stand by the rules-based system, you should also use that rules-based system, which includes calling out where you think the rules have been broken and calling in the international umpire to help resolve those disputes."
The Federal Opposition has backed the Government's preparedness to take China to the WTO.
But Shadow Trade Minister Jason Clare has added that Labor's endorsement of the appeal should not be seen as the Government getting "off the hook" over the failed negotiations.
"The Prime Minister says there needs to be frank discussions between Australia and China, well I want to know what action the Prime Minister has taken to have those frank discussions," Mr Clare said.
"It really shouldn't have come to this. It shouldn't be that hard.
"This should be able to be sorted out on the phone or face to face."
Mr Clare has attacked Scott Morrison's diplomacy with China, arguing that former prime ministers would have been able to keep lines of communication between Australia and China open.
"That's what Bob Hawke would've done. That's what John Howard would've done and that's what Scott Morrison should do," Mr Clare said.
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