Beijing files WTO case against Canberra over tariffs

BEIJING • China sued Australia yesterday over anti-dumping measures on some Chinese goods, further ratcheting up tensions between the two nations.

Beijing has filed a lawsuit at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) over Australian anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures on Chinese exports of railway wheels, wind towers and stainless steel sinks, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said.

This would be the third recent WTO case between the two countries, after Australia sued over Chinese tariffs on wine and barley. Ties between the two sides have been worsening since 2018, when Australia barred Huawei Technologies from building its 5G network and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison led calls for an independent probe into the origins of the coronavirus that first emerged in Wuhan.

Beijing responded with tariffs and restrictions on imports of coal, barley, lobsters and wine.

China opposes nations abusing trade-remedy measures that damage the legitimate rights of Chinese firms and undermine the authority of WTO rules, commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng said, adding that Beijing hopes Canberra can avoid distorting goods trade and bring it back to a normal track as soon as possible.

Australia will "vigorously defend" the case, its Trade Minister Dan Tehan said. "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," he said. "But that is not an avenue available to us at this time."

The Chinese announcement comes after Mr Morrison said this month that his government wanted to restart dialogue with Beijing.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 25, 2021, with the headline 'Beijing files WTO case against Canberra over tariffs'. Subscribe