Europe tells China to have a ‘proper discussion’ with Australia on trade disputes

The European Union’s top diplomat in Canberra has urged China to have a “proper discussion” with Australia over its multibillion-dollar trade disputes and left the door open to the EU joining a claim against Beijing at the World Trade Organisation.

The EU’s ambassador to Australia, Michael Pulch, said Europe’s message to China was: “We do have an international system that guides our trade and China should apply these the same way that it expects others to apply them.”

Over the past year, China has imposed more than $20 billion of tariffs on Australian goods – including beef, barley, wine and lobster – in response to Canberra’s push for an independent inquiry into the coronavirus, as well as other national security decisions. Australia has already commenced a WTO claim against China on the barley dispute, while it is close to launching action on the wine tariffs.

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