'Inflict pain': Australia's China battle escalates with new complaint

·2-min read

Australia's trade war with China has escalated to another level as the superficial barbs continue to be traded between the two nations.

While China continues to import record amounts of goods from Australia, the diplomatic tit-for-tat shows no signs of abating.

Overnight the World Trade Organisation confirmed Australia had filed a formal complaint to the global body over China's duties on bottled wine imports – just one of the export items China has targeted in a months-long spat with the Morrison government. 

Chinese President and Chairman of the Communist Party Xi Jinping.
Chinese President and Chairman of the Communist Party Xi Jinping appears on a large screen as performers dance during a mass gala marking the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party on June 28, 2021. Source: Getty

The dispute is the second Canberra has launched with the global trade body against China amid growing tensions. The first, launched in December, was over China's barley import duties and remains under consideration at the WTO.

The latest so-called 'request for consultations' filed at the WTO in Geneva gives both sides 60 days to confer. If they fail to agree, a WTO dispute panel may be set up.

At a closed-door WTO meeting on Monday, Canada also sought to escalate a trade dispute with China over the latter's restrictions on canola seed imports from Canada.

Chinese paper chides Australia over 'hostile actions'

The increasingly jingoistic Global Times tabloid, owned by the Chinese Communist Party, has again waded into the dispute chiding Australia over the trade war. 

"Canberra's hostile approach to bilateral ties with China continues to inflict pain on local businesses," it wrote on Monday.

"A strained China-Australian diplomatic relationship has gravely affected Australian exports to China," the paper claimed, despite China notching a record level of Australian imports earlier this year. 

Despite public sparring, Australia's exports to China continue to grow.
Despite public sparring, Australia's exports to China continue to grow fuelled by China's need for our iron ore. Source: TradingEconomics

Nonetheless, targeted imports of wine, barely, lobster and more have suffered due to the deteriorating relationship.  

The paper rehashed old grievances, such as the federal government stepping into to cancel Victoria's Belt and Road agreement with China, and claimed the "losses were mounting" for Australia.

"China has harshly criticised the Australian government's unreasonable provocations against China and stressed that Canberra must rectify its mistakes to improve bilateral ties."

with Reuters

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