Australia says WTO should punish Chinese economic coercion

The World Commerce Group should penalize unhealthy behaviour when it happens, Australia’s prime minister stated Wednesday forward of a Group of Seven leaders assembly in Britain the place he hopes to garner assist in a commerce dispute with China.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison stated Australia could be working with others to buttress the function of the World Commerce Group and to modernise its rulebook the place needed.

In my discussions with many leaders, I’ve taken nice encouragement from the assist proven for Australia’s preparedness to resist economic coercion in latest occasions, Morrison stated 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 Might 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 under manufacturing price.

Commerce 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 unhealthy behaviour when it happens. This may be one of the crucial highly effective instruments the worldwide neighborhood has to counter economic coercion, Morrison stated.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated final month the US 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 stated in his speech essentially the most sensible solution to deal with economic coercion could be to revive the WTO’s binding dispute settlement system.

The place there are not any penalties for coercive behaviour, there’s little incentive for restraint, Morrison stated.

The G-7 assembly offers a chance to level a manner ahead at a WTO ministerial convention on commerce reforms in November, he stated.

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