China lodges formal complaint against Australia

·2-min read

Australia has vowed to vigorously defend China's complaint about anti-dumping tariffs on railway wheels, wind towers and stainless steel sinks.

China on Thursday lodged a complaint with the World Trade Organisation in the latest escalation of sour relations between the two nations.

Trade Minister Dan Tehan said the normal channels for raising the action were not used by Beijing.

Minister for Trade Dan Tehan says Australia will
Minister for Trade Dan Tehan says Australia will "vigorously defend the duties" put in place", after China lodged a complaint against Australia. Source: AAP

"Obviously China has the right to take this action, but we will vigorously defend the duties that we have put in place," he told reporters in Canberra.

"What we would like to be able to do is not only be able to sit down at the official level and resolve these disputes, but also at the ministerial level.

"But that is not an avenue which is available to us at this time."

Australia earlier in the week launched WTO action against China over wine tariffs that have hit exporters hard, while Canberra also has a complaint about barley before the global body.

Mr Tehan said suggestions of a tit-for-tat trade war needed to be directed at China.

He said the wind tower and sink measures were implemented in 2014 and 2015, while the railway wheels tariff was put in place during 2019.

Australia has a 10 per cent tariff on wind towers and 30 per cent on railway wheels, with the latter also applying to France.

"The measures vary, but we believe they are justified," Mr Tehan said.

China has filed a complaint against Australia with the World Trade Organisation. Source: AAP
China has filed a complaint against Australia with the World Trade Organisation. Source: AAP

WTO cases usually take two to four years meaning there isn't immediate impacts for Australians.

But the action signals a further deterioration in diplomatic ties which have been under strain for years.

China has launched punitive trade strikes against a range of Australian imports, causing major issues for farmers and exporters.

Chinese commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng told reporters he hopes Australia can adopt concrete measures so bilateral trade can return to a normal track.

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