China drops tariffs on Australian wine after review

China has moved on Thursday to scrap the tariffs on bottles of Australian wine.

China has moved on Thursday to scrap the tariffs on bottles of Australian wine. Photo: VCG via Getty

China will drop punitive tariffs against Australian winemakers after a months-long review.

Beijing moved to scrap the tariffs on Thursday, with the cut off for the decision on Sunday.

It had agreed to a five-month review of the tariffs in exchange for Australia suspending a World Trade Organisation dispute against it.

An interim report from a Beijing-initiated inquiry into the measures recommended the tariffs be scrapped.

The trade in 2019, before the tariffs were in place, was worth $1.1 billion a year and would likely increase when restrictions were scrapped, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said during a trip to a winery in Pokolbin on Thursday.

“We reckon that the resumption of trade, which we think is imminent, will see an even higher amount because that’s what we’ve seen with other products that have been resumed,” he said.

“China wants good high-quality wine and Australia produces it.”

Trade for the industry dropped exponentially after China imposed a 220 per cent tax on Australian wine exports.

Beijing slapped trade sanctions worth $20 billion on Australian products during the height of diplomatic tensions in 2020.

Impediments remain on Australian lobster and beef.

Trade Minister Don Farrell met with China’s man in Australia Xiao Qian on Wednesday.

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Australia and met with Foreign Minister Penny Wong earlier this month while the Chinese premier is expected to come to Australia later in the year.

Australia lost its case in a World Trade Organisation dispute with China on extra taxes for steel products.

China complained to the international body in June 2021 over Australian tariffs on railway wheels, wind towers and stainless steel sinks.

Australia had acted inconsistently with parts of an anti-dumping agreement, the WTO found in all three cases.

Australia had also initiated two disputes against China over barley and wine tariffs.

Both were paused by the government to allow Beijing to review the measures.

The trade impediments on barley were eventually dropped and movement on wine is expected imminently.


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