Australia will ‘defend the global free trade system’

Published on December 16, 2020 by

Australia is well within its rights to launch formal action with the World Trade Organisation regarding China’s decision to unilaterally impose huge tariffs on Australian barley exports, according to Liberal backbencher Dave Sharma.

Earlier this year, China levied an 80 per cent tariff on Australia’s $600m annual barley exports.

Beijing claimed the sector was “dumping” its goods at artificially low prices to secure a competitive advantage, a claim the barley sector vehemently denies.

Trade relations between Australia and China have soured this year after the Morrison government led the charge for an independent, international investigation into the origins of COVID-19.

Mr Sharma told Sky News, Australia takes its commitment to the global trade rules very seriously.

“The WTO is there to settle trade disputes between countries,” he said.

“We are all governed by these rules. We have tried to resolve this dispute over barley with China, directly through diplomacy and other channels.

“We are taking the next logical step here, to protect our barley growers of course, but also, more importantly, to uphold the principles that govern the world trading system, the free trading system that has delivered so much prosperity this half century, including to China’s own people.”

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