WTO APPOINTED PANEL TO ADJUDICATE AUSTRALIA'S DISPUTE WITH CHINA ON WINE TARIFFS
By Siulan Law Mathews DipWSET
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has appointed a panel of three to adjudicate Australia's compliant against China’s punitive tariffs on Australian wine imports, a resolution is expected in at least 12 months.
Announced by WTO early this month, the chairperson of the panel is Faizullah Khilji, who has a PhD in Economics from the University of Oxford and has worked in various capacities in economic management with the government of Pakistan.
Members in the panel include Elaine Feldman, who is a senior fellow in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa. She was deputy permanent representative of Canada to the WTO between 1995 and 2000.
Also appointed as member is Marco Tulio Molina Tejeda, who is currently the deputy permanent representative of Guatemala to the WTO, where he has been responsible for dispute settlement since 2005.
In an interview with Australia’s ABC News, chief executive of Australian Grape and Wine, Tony Battaglene, welcomed the appointment of the panelists and said they are confident that Australia will get a fair hearing.
"It always takes a fair bit of time to get a panel appointed because both Australia and China needed to agree on the membership," Battaglene told ABC News.
"What was pleasing is that both countries agreed, and we didn't have to get the WTO to step in and appoint their own people," he added.
According to Battaglene, the first hearing is expected to take place in Geneva around June this year, and it will at least 12 months from now before the panel can arrive at a resolution.
The Australian government initiated the WTO dispute last year after China slapped anti-dumping tariffs between 116.2 percent and 218.4 percent on Australian wines for 5 years last March.
According to Wine Australia data, almost AUD1billion (USD738million) was wiped off the value of Australian wine exports to mainland China in 2021 representing a 97 percent drop to just AUD29m because of the tariffs.
(the writer can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org)
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