Australia-China dispute over barley trade at the WTO: challenges ahead and possible outcomes for Australia

M. Rafiqul Islam, Khorsed Zaman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In mid-December 2020, Australia sought WTO intervention in its dispute over Chinese anti-dumping duties on its barley export. Upon a critical analysis of the relevant applicable provisions of the WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU), the potential challenges ahead and likely outcome for Australia, this article argues that the dispute is unlikely to be resolved expeditiously and in favour of Australia due to several caveats and contradictions in the DSU, which seemingly favour China more than Australia. Even if Australia prevails and the outcome of its lamb meat dispute with the US is any guide, the prospect of a procrastinated implementation of the outcome may not be gainsaid. Australia will be the ultimate loser at least in the substantial part, if not the full five-year tenure, of the imposed anti-dumping restriction on its barley imports in China. The article concludes that resort to the WTO by Australia appears to be as difficult as its diplomatic pursuit to resolve this barley trade impasse. Nonetheless, a bilaterally negotiated settlement may be a more palatable option for Australia than any legalistic intervention by the WTO. Highlighting the cracks of the DSU, the article reinforces the urgency of long overdue reforms of the DSU.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-35
Number of pages11
JournalGlobal Trade and Customs Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • Australia-China Barley Dispute
  • Anti-dumping
  • WTO Dispute Settlement
  • DSU Reform


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