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Sunday 3 December 2023

Positive signs for Australian wine exports to China

Australian wine could be back on sale in China as early as April next year.

The Chinese government has announced it will review tariffs on Australian wine imports following a long-running dispute over the issue.

The move comes after a number of meetings between leaders of the two countries in recent months.

China’s commerce ministry said in an official statement that it was due to conduct a review into the anti-dumping and anti-subsidy tariffs on Australian wine imports, which China-focused website said could result in sales resuming within a few months.

"The Ministry of Commerce will carry out a review in accordance with the law to fully protect the rights of all stakeholders," Shu Jueting, a commerce ministry spokesperson, told a news conference in Beijing.

"We will adjudicate objectively, fairly and openly based on the claims of each interested party and after examining the evidence."

The latest progress follows the news last month that China and Australia had reached an agreement to settle a World Trade Organisation dispute ahead of the tariff's expiration date in 2026.

A spokesperson for the office of Australian Trade Minister Don Farrell told the Reuters news agency that the latest announcement was “good news for the thousands of Australians who work in the wine industry”.

The Chinese commerce ministry announced i earlier this year that it would be scrapping 80.5% tariffs on Australian barley, which were originally imposed during the height of the two countries dispute in 2020.

China’s trade tariffs on wine came into effect in November, 2020, imposing a charge of 107.1-212.1% on wine exports initially (the rates varied by company). That rose to 116.2-218.4% in March, 2021.

The export sanctions contributed to wiping over 2 billion dollars off the value of Australian wine experts in the year to June 30, 2022, trade site The Drinks Business said.

The duties were originally said to be imposed by Beijing in reaction to the perception that Australia was dumping cheap wines into the People’s Republic. But also came as then Prime Minister Scott Morrison alienated Chinese leaders with a variety of political stances. 

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