Australia heaps WTO pressure on China over barley, wine

London | Australia is on course for a showdown with China at the World Trade Organisation over Beijing’s tariffs on Australian barley after the two sides clashed in Geneva on Wednesday.

China rejected Australia’s bid to set up a three-member independent panel of experts to resolve the dispute, but under WTO rules, Beijing will be forced to agree to the panel at the next meeting of the Organisation’s Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) on May 28.

The barley imbroglio will be the first of Australia’s trade spats with China to move into a formal WTO dispute process, although a separate stoush over wine was also discussed in Geneva this week.

Beijing hit Australian barley with a 73.6 per cent anti-dumping duty and a 6.9 per cent countervailing duty last May, in a move Canberra regards as politically motivated.

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