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China to officially review Australian wine tariffs

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

The move, which was announced yesterday, comes after a number of meetings between the two countries in recent months as it seeks to resolve the

Now 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.

It follows the news last month that China and Australia had reached an agreement to settle the World Trade Organisation dispute ahead of the tariffs expiration, which was due to occur in 2026.

Good news

A spokesperson from the Australian Trade Minister’s Office told Reuters that it was “good news for the thousands of Australians who work in the wine industry”.

The news follows the Chinese commerce ministry announced in a notice 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 originally came into effect in November 2020, imposing a charge of 107.1 – 212.1% on wine exports initially (the rates varied by company), which subsequently rose to 116.2 – 218.4% in March 2021.

The punitive export sanctions contributed to wiping AUD$2.08bn off the value of Australian wine exports in the year to 30 June 2022.

But in recent months, the Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese said he would discuss Australian wine tariffs during his next meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping.

This occurred earlier last month, where a 32 minute meeting was held between the two leaders, which took place at the G20 summit in Bali yesterday (Tuesday), saw Albanese press the Chinese leader to lift China’s punitive export sanctions that have contributed to wiping AUD$2.08 billion off the value of Australian wine exports in the year to 30 June 2022.

Many steps

Albanese called it an “important step” in re-establishing the ties between the two countries, but warned that there were “many steps still to take”, played down the possibility of the trade restrictions being eased any time soon.

It would now appear though that the first steps are being taken on the road to their removal.

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 – a charge vigorously denied by Australia. However as Australian news outlet ABC points out, most of these sanctions were imposed in the wake of the dispute over former prime minister Scott Morrison’s call for an inquiry into COVID-19, and the souring of Chinese-Australian relations can be traced back to the 2018 decision by then prime minister Malcolm Turnbull to ban Chinese telco Huawei from Australia’s 5-G network.

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