AustCham China welcomes tariff removal on Australian wine, vowing to explore new business opportunities

Bottles of Australian wine on the shelf of a supermarket in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province on November 27, 2020 Photo: VCG

Bottles of Australian wine on the shelf of a supermarket in Hangzhou, East China’s Zhejiang Province on November 27, 2020 Photo: VCG

The Australian wine industry is eager to return to the Chinese market while continuing to serve markets that were developed while the tariffs were in place, said the China-Australia Chamber of Commerce (AustCham China) in response to China’s decision to cancel anti-dumping and anti-subsidy tariffs levied on Australian wine effective on Friday.

The lifting of tariffs on Australian wine is a highly positive development, signaling a step forward in resolving trade tensions and benefiting both economies. For Australia, it means the revitalization of the wine industry, protection of jobs and restoration of market access to China, which has been a significant export destination, AustCham China said in a statement sent to the Global Times on Saturday.

China’s Ministry of Commerce on Thursday announced that the country would lift anti-dumping and anti-subsidy tariffs on Australian wine starting from Friday.

Given the changes in the wine market in China, it is no longer necessary to impose such tariffs, the ministry said in a statement.

The anti-dumping tariffs were imposed on March 28, 2021 for a five-year period.

This will be a win-win outcome for Chinese consumers and Australian wine producers, said AustCham China, welcoming the decision. 

It is indeed very heartening to see Australian companies returning to China after a long period of absence to meet with stakeholders, business partners and their China-based teams and to explore new business opportunities in the Chinese mainland market, it said.

However, experts believe that it will still take a long time for Australian wine to reclaim its market position in China. 

Australia was once the largest source of wine imports in China, a status achieved through years of deep cultivation of the Chinese market. Now, with the market share of Australian wine reduced due to anti-dumping and anti-subsidy tariffs, wines from other countries have taken over, and consumer habits will be difficult to change back, Chen Hong, director of the Australian Studies Center of East China Normal University, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Australia should cultivate the Chinese market’s confidence in Australian wine again, Chen said.

China has been Australia’s largest trading partner for 15 consecutive years. It is both Australia’s largest export destination and its largest source of imports, according to the Chinese Embassy in Australia. 

Bilateral trade maintained strong momentum last year, as widely expected, with year-on-year growth of 9.8 percent in yuan terms, according to data released by Chinese customs.

On March 20, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Foreign Minister Wang Yi held the seventh China-Australia Foreign and Strategic Dialogue with Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong in Canberra, Australia.

Wang said that China is ready to work with Australia to further prepare for high-level exchanges, fully restart and make good use of consultation and dialogue mechanisms established in various fields, fully leverage complementary advantages, and further tap the potential of cooperation in such fields as new energy, digital economy, green development and climate response, on the basis of consolidating and developing cooperation in traditional areas of strength such as energy, mining and agricultural products, so as to constantly make the pie of common interests bigger. 

Chinese companies operating in Australia reported steady growth in 2023, with 57.5 percent of firms surveyed being profitable and 45.4 percent of surveyed companies said that they plan to expand their business presence in Australia, China Council for the Promotion of International Trade revealed on Friday.