Trade Minister Dan Tehan is considering bringing Australia’s dispute with China over wine exports to the World Trade Organization.
Australia has complained about blocking China’s exports of barley to the WTO, as one of many commodities at odds with its number one trading partner, including beef, lobster and coal.
“One of the things we really want to do is confirm our trade dispute with China is that we use every means we can to deal with it,” Tehan told Sky News’s Week Agenda program on Sunday.
“Obviously the World Trade Organization is one such mechanism. We use it for barley and at the moment we are considering it in great depth regarding grapes, should we also refer to it. “
The minister will embark on a trip to Europe, including a meeting with the director general of the WTO in Geneva.
Mr Tehan said as the global economy emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic, Australia did not want to see a shift towards protectionism and it was time to work together.
“If you look at what happened post-World War II, it is the trade liberalization agenda that is helping countries move out of poverty to ensure developed countries continue to provide improved living standards in all countries.”
“Now is not the time for us to turn to trade protectionism, now is not the time we need a country that uses dangerous trade measures against other countries.”
During his trip to Europe starting Wednesday, Tehan will meet counterparts from France, Germany and the European Union in Brussels.
He said the world needed to find ways to solve the so-called “level playing field” problem to make sure everyone obeyed the rules.
“It will require new forms of diplomacy, new alliances, new groupings in dealing with this trade issue,” said the minister.
“It’s something I will look at and talk about with my colleagues as I make this trip.”