The trade dispute between China and Australia is set to escalate as Beijing is imposing massive import duties on wines imported to the country from Australia for the next five years. This move threatens to cut off their top export market for the wine makers of Australia.
China will impose import tariffs ranging from 116 per cent to 2018 per cent as announced late last week and were imposed after a prove by Chinese authorities which revealed incidents of “dumping and [market] damage” of wines by Australia. The new tariffs have taken effect from Sunday.
It is likely that the largest wine industry group of Australia, the Australian Grape & Wine, will recommend the government to file a complaint with the World Trade Organization, said the organization’s Chief Executive Tony Battaglene in an interview to Bloomberg. Until recently, China was the largest export market for wine made in Australia.
Since last April, the relations between Australia and China have started to go sour following the call by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison of an international investigation into the origins of the covid-19 pandemic. There were soon difficulties for exporters of a number of Australian products — including timber, beef and some types of coal, to get their products into the Chinese market.
According to a report released earlier this month by the Australian National University’s Chinese Investment in Australia Database, there has been a 62 per cent year on year decline in the amount of Chinese investment in Australia at just over 1 billion Australian dollars ($763 million).
And at the centre of this diplomatic and trade dispute between the two countries has been the wine industry. In November last year, temporary tariffs of up to 212 per cent were imposed by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce on wine imported into the country from Australia after authorities there conducted an anti-dumping investigation.
According to statistics from industry group Wine Australia, by December last year, the value of exports of wine to China dropped to almost zero.
(Adapted from CNN.com)