Australian Trade Minister Dan Tehan on Saturday threatened to appeal to the World Trade Organization (WTO) over China’s new “unjustified” tariffs on Australian wines.
In the latest round of measures taken amid growing diplomatic tensions between Beijing and Canberra, Beijing on Friday announced that Australian wine imports will be subject to new compensation rates ranging from 116.2% to 218.4% starting Sunday.
With these new rates, Tehan assured that it would be “practically impossible” for Australian wines to compete in the Chinese market.
“This move by the Chinese government is particularly disappointing and completely unjustified,” he told reporters in Melbourne. “We are going to explore the next steps, which means taking the case to the World Trade Organization.”
China announced on Friday that it was imposing tough anti-corruption measures on Australian wines.
Dumping, in which China blames Australia for having to sell overseas at a lower price than is currently practiced in the domestic market.
Alcohol exports to China reached $ 1.3 billion ($ 900 million) in 2019, according to data from the Australian government, the most important market for the product.
Australia last year asked the World Trade Organization to investigate Chinese tariffs on barley imports, following a series of sanctions against Australian products in the giant Chinese market.
Diplomatic relations between the two countries are at their worst since the bloody repression of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.
Many see these restrictions as retaliation for Australia’s blocking Chinese investment in sensitive sectors and for the public to demand an independent inquiry into the origin of the corona virus.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has accused Beijing of using tariffs as a “retaliatory” measure.
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