25.06.2021, 08:09

China makes surprise appeal to WTO over Australian anti dumping measures

China has lodged a complaint to the World Trade Organization (WTO) over Australia’s anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on Chinese railway wheels, wind towers and stainless steel sink products.


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Canberra and Beijing have been locked in a tit-for-tat conflict since April 2020, and bilateral relations have deteriorated to their lowest point in decades. Photo: Shutterstock

The move by China came after Australia’s contesting last week of anti-dumping duties imposed by China on wine exports, which had followed an earlier complaint over China’s anti-dumping and countervailing duties imposed on Australian barley exports, South China Morning Post on June 24.

Canberra and Beijing have been locked in a tit-for-tat conflict since April 2020, and bilateral relations have deteriorated to their lowest point in decades.

China’s Ministry of Commerce confirmed its complaint filing on June 25 afternoon, saying the duties imposed or extended across those products in the past two years have violated the WTO’s trading rules and anti-dumping and anti-subsidy regulations.

Anti-dumping duties are tools in the protectionist trade policy armoury, and duties are generally designed to make imported goods more expensive than similar products produced domestically.



Gao Feng, a Chinese commerce ministry spokesman, said Beijing will appeal against Australian duties on Chinese railway wheels, wind towers and stainless steel sinks that date from 2014. Photo: Reuters

“China opposes the abuse of trade-remedy measures, as this not only harms the rights and interests of Chinese companies but also undermines the seriousness and authority of WTO rules,” ministry spokesman Gao Feng said at a press conference.

“We hope that, by raising Australia’s relevant anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures using the WTO’s dispute-settlement mechanism, it will not only safeguard the rights and interests of Chinese enterprises but also safeguard the effectiveness of the multilateral trading system and the WTO.

“We hope Australia will take concrete actions to correct its wrong practices, avoid distorting the trade of goods, and return trade back to normal as soon as possible.”

Australia vows to “vigorously defend the duties”



Trade minister Dan Tehan says Australia will ‘vigorously defend’ itself against China’s complaint to the World Trade Organization. Photograph: Sam Mooy/Getty Images

Australian Trade Minister Dan said the country would defend its position.

"Obviously China has the right to take this action, but we will vigorously defend the duties that we have put in place," he was cited by ABC News as saying.

Tehan would not speculate on whether China's actions were an act of retaliation, but he pointed out that some of the anti-dumping tariffs being targeted by China were introduced more than five years ago.

"Two of the measures which were put in place were put in place in 2014 and 2015, with regards to wind towers and stainless-steel sinks … the other measure was put in place in 2019, and that was the railway wheels," he said.

Tehan said the Australian government would argue the duties imposed on those products were justified and were introduced after rigorous market analysis.



Beijing is accusing Australia of anti-competitive behaviour. Photo: Reuters

"We are always, always putting in place due diligence to make sure any measures that we put in place are WTO consistent," he said.

Tehan reiterated that Australia viewed its trade relationship with China as "incredibly important" for both nations and urged Beijing to reengage on a ministerial level.

For many months, attempts by senior Australian government ministers to contact their Chinese counterparts have gone unanswered.

"We want constructive engagement with China," he said.

"We want to sit down and work through these disputes, we continue to do that at the official level and we would be most happy to do it at the ministerial level."/.


China-Australia trade conflict

February 28, 2020: Australian concludes, following a review, it will continue to impose anti-dumping duties on Chinese deep drawn stainless steel sinks

March 31, 2020: Australia initiates anti-dumping investigation into cheap precision pipe and tube steel from China, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam

April 16, 2020: The commission initiates another anti-dumping investigation into A4 copy paper exported by China, Brazil, Indonesia and Thailand

April 21, 2020: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison discusses a probe into the origins of the coronavirus with world leaders, including US President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron

May 11, 2020: China bans imports from four major Australian meat processing plants

May 13, 2020: Australian Dumping Commission concludes, following a review, it will continue to impose anti-dumping duties on Chinese silicon metal

May 18, 2020: China confirms 80.5% tariff on Australian barley exports following the conclusion of its anti-dumping investigations

May 27, 2020: Australia initiates an anti-dumping investigation into painted steel strapping from China and Vietnam

June 30, 2020: Anti-dumping investigation widens to include aluminium zinc coated steel from China and Vietnam

July 13, 2020: Australia initiates an anti-dumping investigation into copper tubes from China and South Korea

July 27, 2020: Australia Dumping Commission assesses possible continuation of dumping duties on Chinese hot-rolled rods in coils of steel

August 18, 2020: China’s Ministry of Commerce confirms it has started an anti-dumping investigation into Australian wine imports following a complaint from the China Alcoholic Drinks Association

August 31, 2020: China announces a countervailing investigation into subsidised Australian wine imports

August 31, 2020: China halts barley imports from Australia’s CBH Grain, the country’s biggest grain shipping company, because harmful weeds were found in the cargoes

October 12, 2020: China verbally bans Australian thermal and coking coal imports

October 16, 2020: China “discouraging” its spinning mills from using Australian cotton

October 30, 2020: China customs bans imports of log timber from Queensland and grain imports from Emerald Grain, while it also delays imports of Australian lobster

November 6, 2020: Australian coal, barley, log timber, lobster, wine, copper, sugar faces blocks at Chinese ports due to verbal bans

November 11, 2020: China customs bans imports of log timber from Victoria

November 15, 2020: China and Australia join 13 other nations in signing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement

November 28, 2020: China imposes temporary anti-dumping measures ranging from 107.1 to 212.1% on Australian wine imports

December 8, 2020: China suspends beef exports from another Australian meat processing plant

December 10, 2020: China’s imposes temporary anti-subsidy (countervailing) duties ranging from 6.3 to 6.4 per cent on Australian wine imports, on top of anti-dumping duties imposed November 28

December 21, 2020: WTO confirms Australia has lodged an appeal against China’s tariffs on Australian barley

February 5, 2021: Australia's exports of good and services to China rise by just 0.3% in 2020

March 28, 2021: China applies anti-dumping duties of between 116.2 per cent and 218.4 per cent on Australian wines in containers of two litres or less

April 28, 2021: China rejects Australia’s first request to establish a World Trade Organization (WTO) panel to investigate its anti-dumping and countervailing duties imposed on imports of Australian barley

May 6, 2021: China ‘indefinitely suspends’ high-level economic dialogue with Australia

May 28, 2021: The WTO agrees to form a dispute settlement panel over Australia’s barley trade row with China, with New Zealand joining as a third party

June 18, 2021: Australia confirms it has formally lodged a complaint with the WTO over China's anti-dumping tariffs on Australian wine

June 24, 2021: China lodges a complaint with the WTO against Australia for its anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on imports of Chinese railway wheels, wind towers and stainless steel sink products





Rosy Huong