China continues trade war against Australia, imposes punitive tariffs on Australian wine exports

Continuing its efforts in an attempt to bully Australia, on Friday, China’s Ministry of Commerce said, it will temporary impose anti-dumping measures on Australian wine from November 28, 2020. The move will further escalate trade and diplomatic tensions between Canberra and Beijing which incidentally began after Australia pushed for finding out the source of the Wuhan coronavirus.

According to the statement, importers bringing in investigated products will have to pay deposits to customs authority; these will be calculated based on different rates the customs authority has assigned to various companies, rather than goods.

China has imposed an import duty of 169.3% on Treasury Wine, the highest among all the named wine firms in the statement. Australia’s Treasury Wine Estates Ltd is the world’s biggest listed winemaker.

With the news reaching the market, shares of the company fell by more than 13% before being put on a trading halt pending an announcement.

China’s commerce ministry did not specify how long the measures would last for. It said that it looked into samples from a few Australian firms, including that of Treasury Wines, Casella Wines and Australia Swan Vintage.

A spokesman for Australia’s Minister for Trade Simon Birmingham did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

China in August began an anti-dumping probe into imports of Australian wine at the request of the Chinese Alcoholic Drinks Association. Earlier this month, the association called for retrospective tariffs on Australian wine imports.

Beijing’s latest move comes against a backdrop of increasing tension between the countries after Canberra called for an international inquiry into the origins of the novel coronavirus.

China is Australia’s biggest trading partner and last year trade between the two countries was worth $170 billion (A$235 billion).

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