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China complains to WTO over Australia’s trade measures

Amid escalating trade tensions China has made a stunning decision that designed to punish Australia on the world stage.

China has lodged a formal complaint against Australia to the World Trade Organisation marking further escalation in tensions between the two countries.

The suit challenges Australia’s anti-dumping measures on Chinese exports of train wheels, wind turbines and stainless steel sinks. It comes a week after Canberra challenged Beijing’s crippling tariffs on Australian wine exports.

It aims to “safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies”, Chinese commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng said at a media briefing on Thursday.

“We hope that Australia will take concrete actions to correct its wrong practices, avoid distortions in the trade of related products, and bring such trade back to the normal track as soon as possible.”

Australia has imposed tariffs on Chinese-built train wheels and wind turbines since 2019.

China in November announced tariffs of up to 218 per cent on Australian wines, which it said were being “dumped” into the Chinese market at subsidised prices.

The crackdown virtually closed what had been Australia’s biggest overseas wine market, with sales falling from Aus$1.1 billion (US$ 840 million) to just Aus$20 million, according to official figures.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has warned that his government would respond forcefully to countries trying to use “economic coercion” against Australia.

More to come.

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