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China not likely to pursue Huawei complaint against Australia at WTO

By Elizabeth Shim
China has informally complained about an Australia ban at the World Trade Organization that affects firms like Huawei. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI
China has informally complained about an Australia ban at the World Trade Organization that affects firms like Huawei. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

April 15 (UPI) -- Experts say a recent move by China to file an official complaint against Australia is unlikely to happen.

Australia's ABC News reported Monday there is a low probability Beijing could go after Australia for banning Huawei's technologies from 5G networks.

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Chinese government representatives are for now informally bringing up the ban at the World Trade Organization in Geneva in a possible bid to overturn the Australian decision, according to the report.

There is skepticism Australia could defend the ban, however.

Tania Voon, an analyst at Melbourne University, said enforcing the ban on the premise of national security would be a "stretch." China and Huawei are not named in the ban, but restrictions that appear to be targeting Chinese firms like Huawei and ZTE could be interpreted as discriminatory, according to the Australian Financial Review.

The ban states "vendors who are likely to be subject to extrajudicial directions from a foreign government that conflict with Australian law," are not allowed to access Australia's 5G networks.

Huawei Australia has yet to receive formal notice of the ban, according to the report.

The informal Chinese complaint filed at the WTO comes after a seafood ban between Japan and South Korea is dividing opinion in the two countries.

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Last week the WTO upheld a South Korean ban on Japanese seafood originating from the Tohoku region, the site of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.

On Monday in Beijing, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono requested China lift bans on select Japanese food products, Kyodo News reported.

China bans imports of food from 10 Japanese prefectures, according to the report.

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