Australian PM calls on G7 to reform trade rules to curb China
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An overhaul of global trade rules is essential to end economic coercion, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison was said on Wednesday in comments to China ahead of his meeting with G7 leaders.
As Australia’s shadow trade war with its biggest trading partner shows little sign of abating, Morrison will tell the Perth USAsia Center that the rules-based world order is “under pressure.”
“The most practical way to fight economic coercion is to reestablish the binding dispute settlement system of the world trade body,” said his speech, seen by AFP.
“Where there are no consequences for coercive behavior, there is little incentive for restraint.”
Beijing has imposed tough economic sanctions on a range of Australian products in recent months, including tariffs or disruptions in several agricultural sectors, coal, wine and tourism.
Many in Canberra believe the measures are punishment for pushing back Chinese influence operations in Australia, rejecting Chinese investments in sensitive areas and publicly calling for an investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.
Morrison’s comments will precede the G7 summit in Cornwall, southern England, where Australia has been invited as a nation invited to participate in the “G7 Plus” talks.
Morrison plans to use the event as an opportunity to work with major nations to “modernize” WTO rules, ahead of his ministerial conference in November.
Australia has launched action at the WTO over China’s tariffs on barley imports, but the case could take years to be resolved.
While climate change is expected to be high on the agenda for the first face-to-face meeting of the G7 in nearly two years, Morrison also appears ready to resist international pressure to commit Australia to a goal of carbon neutrality.
Australia will instead focus on “how we succeed and prosper” in a global economy moving towards net zero without jeopardizing local jobs and industries, he is expected to say on Wednesday.
“It’s about how Australia best advances our interests in a world facing climate change.”
Australia is one of the world’s largest producers of coal and natural gas, but has also suffered in recent years from extreme droughts, floods and bushfires which scientists say are made worse by climate change.
© 2021 AFP