Australia says WTO ought to punish Chinese financial coercion

The World Trade Organization ought to penalize dangerous behaviour when it happens, Australia’s prime minister mentioned Wednesday forward of a Group of Seven leaders assembly in Britain the place he hopes to garner help in a commerce dispute with China.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison mentioned Australia could be working with others to buttress the position of the World Trade Organization and to modernise its rulebook the place obligatory.

In my discussions with many leaders, I’ve taken nice encouragement from the help proven for Australia’s preparedness to face up to financial coercion in latest occasions, Morrison mentioned in a speech delivered within the Australian west coast metropolis of Perth earlier than leaving for the G7 assembly in Cornwall.

The Australian authorities introduced in December it might ask the WTO to intervene in its dispute with China over barley and expects different nations to turn into concerned within the case.

China successfully ended imports of Australian barley in May 2020 by placing tariffs of greater than 80 per cent on the crop, accusing Australia of breaching WTO guidelines by subsidizing barley manufacturing and promoting the grain in China at beneath manufacturing value.

Trade in Australian seafood, wooden, beef, wine and coal has additionally been disrupted since Australia angered China by requesting an unbiased inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Geneva-based WTO, which makes guidelines governing worldwide commerce, is going through requires restructuring and reform because it struggles to forge a long-awaited world commerce pact.

A well-functioning WTO that units clear guidelines, arbitrates disputes objectively and effectively penalizes dangerous behaviour when it happens. This will be probably the most highly effective instruments the worldwide group has to counter financial coercion, Morrison mentioned.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken mentioned final month the United States is not going to depart Australia alone to face coercion from China and that such habits towards US allies will hamper enchancment in relations between Washington and Beijing.

Morrison mentioned in his speech essentially the most sensible technique to tackle financial coercion could be to revive the WTO’s binding dispute settlement system.

Where there are not any penalties for coercive behaviour, there’s little incentive for restraint, Morrison mentioned.

The G-7 assembly offers a possibility to level a means ahead at a WTO ministerial convention on commerce reforms in November, he mentioned.

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