Former Minister for Trade
Australian Commonwealth Coat of Arms

10 December 2007

WTO Dispute: China Market Access: Australia’s third party involvement

Australia will become a third party in the World Trade Organization dispute between the United States and China on market access restrictions for audiovisual products, sound recordings and publications.

This case raises important market access issues for Australia’s business interests, especially for sound recordings.  It could also decide some important issues affecting the rules under which the WTO operates.

The Australian Government is strongly committed to the WTO dispute settlement system as a means of protecting and advancing Australia’s economic and commercial interests. 

Our participation as a third party does not mean we are taking sides in the dispute.

Other WTO Members - the European Communities and Japan -have also decided to become third parties.

Australia regularly participates as a third party in WTO cases as it allows us to register our views on the key issues raised in a dispute, even if it is between other countries.

We are currently participating as a third party in the US and EC cases against each other on large civil aircraft subsidies, and in Brazil’s case against the US on subsidies to cotton. 

Other WTO Members also join disputes as third parties to ensure their voices are heard. China has been a third party to more than 40 disputes since joining the WTO in 2001.

The Australian Government is strongly committed to the trade and economic relationship with China.

There is great potential to further expand Australia’s exports to China across a range of sectors including services and related industries.  I look forward to working with my Chinese counterparts and the business community to deepen these strong economic linkages.

Media Inquiries: Mr Crean's office 02 6277 7420 - Departmental Media Liaison 02 6261 1555