The World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala appointed a three-person panel Monday to address Australia and China’s dispute over Chinese barley subsidies.
This is not the first anti-dumping dispute between Australia and China. Australia imposed remedial duties on Chinese wind towers, train wheels, and stainless steel sinks. China imposed similar duties on Australian wine. All of these subsidies have been challenged before the WTO, but the barley dispute is the first to be impaneled by the WTO.
This dispute arose from China’s imposition of anti-dumping and countervailing duties on Australian barley. These duties total about 80 percent of the value of the barley. Anti-dumping and countervailing duties are meant to offset impermissible subsidies that a government gives domestic producers, allowing other producers to compete with the subsidized products.
The process of selecting a panel to hear this dispute has been contentious. Although Australia filed a complaint before the WTO in December, both countries were unable to resolve the dispute through consultations and both rejected other panel makeups. Australia appeared directly to Director-General Okonjo-Iweala in late August after the two countries were unable to agree on a panel.
The panel includes Enie Neri de Ross of Venezuela, Jose Antonio de la Puente Leon of Peru and Catharina Janse Van Vuuren of South Africa. De Ross will chair the panel. The panel has not established any dates for future hearings or fact-finding at this time.