TWE imports into China delayed as tensions with Australia grow

Australian wine giant, Treasury Wine Estates (TWE), is the latest victim of growing friction between China and Australia, with the company reporting customs delays of its shipments to the mainland.

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The difficulties have pushed Australia’s trade minister Steve Ciobo to “mobilise” a diplomatic team to thwart further escalations during his visit to Shanghai this week, reported Reuters.

When contacted by dbHK for comment, TWE confirmed the customs delays and stated it’s working with Chinese authorities to solve the problem.

“TWE confirms it is also experiencing delays for some of its Australian Country of Origin shipments being cleared by the General Administration of Customs China (GACC) to replenish its inventory levels,” the company said.

“As always, TWE continues to respectfully co-operate with authorities and relevant agencies in China to meet all regulatory requirements.

“The company is seeking greater understanding of new and additional verification requirements which have been applied since April 2018, and seemingly appear to only apply to Australian Country of Origin wines, and to Australian exporters operating ‘warehouse models’.”

Relations between Australia and China have been strained over the past 12 months, partly over Australian concerns about rising Chinese influence in the country.

At one point during the diplomatic row, nationalist media outlets in China described the fear of Chinese influence in Australia as “hysterical paranoia full of racial undertones”.

English newspaper China Daily even called Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull “China-basher-in-chief”.

Ciobo’s visit came as part of the delegation to a China-Australia football match in Shanghai – the first Australian minister to visit China in eight months, wrote ABC news.

“Our trade and investment relationship with China is strong, and yes there are areas where Australia and China have some differences”, he said prior to the trip.

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