Australia to decide 'very shortly' on WTO action against China

SYDNEY (BLOOMBERG) – Australian Trade Minister Dan Tehan said his government is bolstering its legal arguments before potentially asking the World Trade Organisation to resolve its wine-tariff trade dispute with China.

The WTO action was “under active consideration” and Australia would be “making a decision very shortly,” Tehan said in a Bloomberg Television interview on Wednesday (June 16). “You’ve got to make sure that you’ve got the very best legal argument and the very best legal case to do that, so we want to make sure we’ve done everything we can to show the strength of our case.”

China in March imposed tariffs of up to 218 per cent on Australian wine for five years, formalising curbs that had been in place for months amid an increasingly fraught relationship with Canberra.

The top commodities buyer said that Australian wine had been subsidised and sold under market value, a view that’s been rejected by the Australian government.

In a radio interview last week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the tariffs as “completely unconscionable.” His government has been involved in escalating geopolitical tensions with China that have spilled into trade reprisals.

“We are seeking to take those up to the World Trade Organisation and see them resolved there,” he said.

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