Australia wants to participate in China-EU trade dispute | Magnet

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Australia will seek to be included in consultations on a trade dispute between the European Union and China launched by the EU at the World Trade Organisation, Trade Minister Dan Tehan has said.

Thursday’s EU challenge accuses China of discriminatory trade practices against Lithuania, saying they threaten the integrity of the single market.

“Australia has a substantial interest in the issues raised in the dispute brought by the European Union against China (…) and will ask to participate in these consultations,” Trade Minister Dan Tehan said on Saturday.

China, which considers self-governing Taiwan its own territory, downgraded ties with Lithuania and pushed companies to cut ties with the Baltic nation of 2.8 million people after allowing Taiwan to open a de facto embassy there. Vilnius.

Its restrictions include the refusal to clear Lithuanian goods by Chinese customs, the rejection of import requests from Lithuania and pressure on EU companies to remove Lithuanian content from supply chains during export to China.

Relations between Australia and China, its biggest trading partner, soured after Canberra banned Huawei Technologies from its 5G broadband network in 2018, toughened laws against foreign policy interference and called for an independent investigation into origins of COVID-19.

Beijing responded by freezing ministerial contacts and imposing tariffs on several Australian products, such as coal, beef, barley and wine.

Australia has filed two complaints with the WTO in the last 18 months over duties imposed by China on imports of bottled wine and barley.

In a statement on Saturday, the Foreign Office said Australia “welcomes” an invitation from France to participate in a February meeting of Indo-Pacific foreign ministers.

“Australia greatly values ​​cooperation with France and with Europe, including in the Indo-Pacific,” she said in an emailed statement, without specifying whether Foreign Minister Marise Payne would be present.

Australia’s relations with France, which holds the rotating six-month EU Council presidency, have also soured after Canberra signed a security pact with Britain and the states last year. United States, nicknamed AUKUS, canceling a multi-billion dollar submarine contract with France. .

The pact, widely seen as an attempt to build regional military muscle in the face of China’s growing presence, annoyed Beijing but also provoked fury in France.

Australian Associated Press

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