China removes Covid-era tariffs on Australian wine

2 weeks ago 26

Wine being pouredImage source, Getty Images

Image caption,

Before trade restrictions were imposed, China was the top market for Australian wine exports

By Frances Mao

in Singapore

China has announced it will remove significant tariffs on Australian wine in another key sign of improving relations between the two countries.

Beijing imposed taxes of more than 200% in 2020 amid a string of economic blows to Australian exports.

That year Beijing targeted Australian coal, sugar, barley and lobsters amid a wider political falling-out.

But China-Australia relations have improved since a new Canberra government was elected in 2022.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese welcomed the announcement from the Chinese commerce ministry on Thursday, saying his government had also managed to reduce other trade barriers.

Last year in August, China also removed the tariffs it had imposed on Australian barley - another key commodity that had been targeted.

"This outcome affirms the calm and consistent approach taken by the Albanese Labor Government and follows the success of the similar approach taken to remove duties on Australian barley," Prime Minister Albanese said in a statement.

He said his government was still lobbying China on removing remaining tariffs on commodities such as beef and lobster.

China's Commerce Ministry on Thursday said it was removing the duties on bottled wine due to "changes in the market situation of the relevant wines in China". The penalty would be removed from Friday.

Beijing had always denied accusations of economic coercion, instead previously justifying the tariffs as being anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties.

That had led to Australia filing a complaint with the World Trade Organization against the validity of such penalties. The case was withdrawn last year as the two nations' relations improved.

The prospect of Beijing removing the tariffs had been forecast in Australia in February by government ministers.

And earlier this month, the Chinese commerce ministry had published an interim decision indicating the tariffs would most likely be removed.

Last week, China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi also went to Canberra to hold meetings with his counterpart, Australia's Foreign Minister Penny Wong.

China remains Australia's number one trade partner. Before trade restrictions were imposed, China was the top destination for Australian wine exports.

In 2022, Australian wine representatives said the industry had lost A$2.1bn ($1.37bn, £1.08bn) due to the market there being shut off.

Read Entire Article