The Australian government has announced it will defend the interests of wine makers by taking action in the World Trade Organization (WTO) over China’s imposition of anti-dumping duties on Australian wine.
The decision to commence the dispute resolution process was taken following extensive consultation with Australia’s wine makers.
The WTO dispute resolution process is available to any WTO member as a means to resolve trade disputes in a respectful manner.
The Hon David Littleproud MP, Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, Deputy Leader of The Nationals said Australia’s use of the WTO in this matter is consistent with its previous use of the WTO and aligns with its support for the rules-based trading system.
He added that Australia remains open to engaging directly with China to resolve this issue and thank Australia’s wine makers for their constructive engagement on this issue and their continued cooperation.
He said the Government will continue to vigorously defend the interests of Australian wine makers using the established system in the WTO to resolve their differences.
Australian Grape & Wine said it welcomes the announcement that the Australian Government will initiate the dispute settlement process at the World Trade Organization (WTO) in response to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce’s decision to impose duties on Australian wine imports in March 2021.
“We believe the Australian Government’s decision to initiate this process is the right call for Australia’s grape and wine businesses” said Tony Battaglene, Chief Executive of Australian Grape & Wine.
“As an export-focused industry, Australia’s grape growers and winemakers have benefited enormously from the rules-based international trading system, with the WTO at its core. In taking this decision, the Australian Government is demonstrating its commitment to Australia’s grape and wine businesses and respecting the rules-based international trading system.’
“We have been consistent in our position that Australian producers have not dumped wine on the Chinese market, nor received trade-distorting subsidies. We believe the Australian Government’s decision to ask the WTO to undertake an independent assessment of the facts is the right course to take.”
“While this process is underway, we’ll keep working with grape growers, winemakers and the Australian Government, to diversify our export markets and strengthen relationships as much as possible with all trading partners, including China.”
South Australian winemaker denies discounting claims
Chester Osborn from South Australian winery d’Arenberg told SBS that going to the WTO was the only option left.
“We’re not getting anywhere with conversation with China so what else can you do really,” he said. “I’d like to think though that Australia could converse with China and resolve this without having to go through the WTO, but we’ll just have to use whatever we can, I suppose.”
Osborn (above) also disputed the claim by China that Australia was dumping wine there at low prices, which was hurting local producers.
“It’s the most expensive wine over there per litre, by country, and also the most expensive market by litre for export for Australian wine anywhere in the world,” he said. “So obviously, we’re not discounting.”
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