Australia-China trade relations remain a ‘waiting game’

By Samuel Squire

It is understood that severe tariff hikes to Australian exported goods, including wine and other agricultural and mining goods, will be implemented as of today, Friday November 6.

A request to apply retrospective tariffs on Australian wine, and other agricultural and mining products, was made by China’s Alcoholic Drinks Association (CADA) in recent weeks as part of China’s anti-dumping investigation.

Australian Grape & Wine (AGW) general manager for government relations and external affairs Lee McLean said, if the application is approved by Chinese authorities, the ramifications could be dire.

“Firstly, we have heard reports through the media and rumours from Australian companies who have apparently been contacted by China which suggested wine and other commodities will have a ban on shipments from today,” he said.

“At this point in time, we cannot verify the veracity of these rumours, although they are quite consistent throughout the agriculture industry and other commodity groups, and the pattern seems to be that no-one has heard anything definitive from Chinese authorities to confirm or deny them.”

McLean says that, if tariffs are introduced, Australian exported goods “already on the water will likely be held at Chinese docks in a warehouse until a solution is found”.

“If there is a ban on Chinese imports of Australian goods, there will be a lot of Australian companies seeking other markets,” he said.

McLean adds that the ban would not only adversely impact Australian exporters, but also the Chinese consumers that have developed a growing appreciation and demand for Australian products.

“Chinese consumers aren’t just enjoying Australian wine, but also other agricultural products like lobster, fruit and veggies, so they will also feel the pinch if this ban is implemented,” he said.

“It’s a nasty situation, but now it’s a waiting game.”

Are you a Daily Wine News subscriber? If not, click here to join our mailing list. It’s free!