SYDNEY: Australia will intervene to shield its multi-billion dollar wine industry from punitive new Chinese tariffs. Its minister of agriculture said Friday, raising the possibility of counter-measures from the World Trade Organization.
“The Australian government will defend the industry vigorously,” David Littleproud said, vowing to challenge a decision announced on Friday by Beijing.
Furthermore, in response to “substantive damage” China reported to be caused by allegedly mispriced Australian goods. Wine importers would have to pay deposits of 107.1% to 212.1% within hours.
After that, we have 10 days to appeal, and we will work closely with the industry around that,” Littleproud said, suggesting that the move may be politically motivated and linked to a growing spat between the two nations.”
“This makes us deeply concerned,” he said. “In view of China’s recent comments, it gives the impression that this decision is based on something other than any wrongdoing by the wine industry.”
Although minister-level contacts have dried up in recent months, Littleproud called for talks with China but said Australia could also turn to the WTO for assistance.
“Obviously, through the WTO, we will exhaust all avenues available to us,” he said.
Furthermore, member States can under WTO rules, request that tariffs or other obstacles to trade be examined.
Australia could gain the right to place countervailing duties of equal value on Chinese goods if found to be unreasonable.
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