After Australia criticized the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) handling of the CCP Virus more than a year ago, the CCP’s economic coercion began and seemed to have no end in sight. Its latest move was to impose a series of tariffs on Australian wine imports. In response, Australia’s Trade Minister Daniel Thomas Tehan is considering launching a second action against China at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

In an interview on Sky News on Sunday, Tehan said: 

“One of the things we are very keen to do is to make sure with our trade disputes with China is that we are using every means we can to deal with them.”

He clarifies that going to the WTO is one of Australia’s mechanisms to curb the CCP’s encroachment on the Australian economy. As it was done when the CCP imposed illogical tariffs on barley, Australia will denounce what is happening with the wine industry to the WTO.

The minister also announced that he is about to embark on a trip to Europe, including a meeting with the director-general of the WTO in Geneva. He will also meet with other leaders to lobby against trade “protectionism.” 

Tehan’s comments on the WTO action come just weeks after Beijing’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) decided to toughen its measures against Australia and imposed tariffs between 116% to 218% on Australian wine imports into China. 

CCP investigations determined that dumping and subsidies are occurring, the Chinese industry is materially injured, and there is a causal link between them.

“Tariffs of between 116 and 218% mean that it will be “basically impossible for Australian wine to compete in the Chinese market,” Tehan said.

Based on the Chinese wine industry’s petitions, MOFCOM announced on August 18, 2020, and August 31, 2020, the initiation of AD and CVD investigations on wine from Australia. After the case filing, MOFCOM conducted the analyses and made the above-mentioned final determinations according to relevant Chinese laws and regulations and the World Trade Organization rules.

The measures were notified without notice by China’s Ministry of Commerce and began to take effect on March 28 and run for the next five years.

At the time, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison denounced that China is raising the price of Australian wine in “retaliation” because Australia defends its values, and that is “not right,” according to local media Zenger News.

The move is reportedly in retaliation for recent support for the UK in publicly condemning the CCP’s treatment of Uighurs in Xinjiang.

The tariffs are part of a long-running campaign of economic coercion against Australian exports to China, which has affected the coal, beef, wine, barley, lobster, timber, lamb, and cotton industries. 

The regime’s ‘punishment’ began as an apparent response to Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne’s claims urging an investigation into the origins of the CCP Virus in April 2020.

The main tool Australia is using to defend itself is going to the WTO. However, critics say that organization has been in turmoil since 2018 when former President Trump exposed the organization’s malfunctioning, judicial overreach by its members, and slow decision-making. 

 

 

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