CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The World Trade Organization should penalize “bad behavior when it occurs,” Australia’s prime minister mentioned 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 mentioned Australia can be “working with others to buttress the role of the World Trade Organization and to modernize its rulebook where necessary.”
“In my discussions with many leaders, I’ve taken great encouragement from the support shown for Australia’s preparedness to withstand economic coercion in recent times,” 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 could ask the WTO to intervene in its dispute with China over barley and expects different nations to change into concerned within the case.
China successfully ended imports of Australian barley in May 2020 by placing tariffs of greater than 80% 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 impartial inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Geneva-based WTO, which makes guidelines governing worldwide commerce, is dealing with requires restructuring and reform because it struggles to forge a long-awaited world commerce pact.
“A well-functioning WTO that sets clear rules, arbitrates disputes objectively and efficiently penalizes bad behavior when it occurs. This can be one of the most powerful tools the international community has to counter economic coercion,” Morrison mentioned.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken mentioned final month the United States is not going to go away Australia alone to face coercion from China and that such habits towards U.S. allies will hamper enchancment in relations between Washington and Beijing.
Morrison mentioned in his speech essentially the most sensible method to tackle economic coercion can be to revive the WTO’s binding dispute settlement system.
“Where there are no consequences for coercive behavior, there is little incentive for restraint,” Morrison mentioned.
The G-7 assembly “provides an opportunity to point a way forward” at a WTO ministerial convention on commerce reforms in November, he mentioned.