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WTO considers request for Australia-China, Malaysia-EU dispute panel
By TII News Service
May 01, 2021 , Geneva

    

AT a meeting of the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) of the Word Trade Organisation (WTO) on Wednesday, members considered requests from Australian and Malaysia for establishing panels to resolve their trade disputes with China and the European Union respectively.

Australia submitted its first request for a panel to determine whether China's May, 2020 decision to impose anti-dumping duties of 73.6 per cent and countervailing duties of 6.9 per cent on imports of Australian barley is consistent with WTO rules.

This has "effectively closed the Chinese market for Australian barley" said the nation, which previously accounted for half of Australia's total feed barley exports and 86 per cent of its total malting barley exports.

Meanwhile, China said it was not in a position to support Australia's request as their investigations found "trade distortions arising from Australia's actions which caused material injury to its domestic industry."

China said it engaged in "good faith talks" with Australia, both during and after the WTO consultations, and both sides agreed the talks were constructive.

Given this, China said Australia's request for a panel was premature and that it was willing to continue its engagement with Australia.

The second panel was requested by Malaysia concerning European Union (EU) measures on palm oil and oil palm crop-based biofuels. Malaysia contends that the measures adopted as part of the EU's policy of promoting the use of biofuels, "unfairly" benefit EU domestic producers of certain biofuel feedstocks by limiting the amount of palm oil that may be counted towards reaching EU renewable energy targets and, consequently, the palm oil that will be sold in the EU market.

Malaysia noted that consultations on the matter were held with the EU on March 17 but failed to resolve differences between the two sides, prompting Malaysia's request for a panel.

The EU, on the other hand, said the consultations with Malaysia were constructive, and that it expressed hope the talks had provided the necessary information and clarification.

They are of the belief the measures at issue are fully justified.

The DSB agreed to revert to both matter at a future meeting if requested by a member.

 
 
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