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China Is Lifting Its Tariffs on Australian Wine

China Is Lifting Its Tariffs on Australian Wine

Oenophiles in China got some good news on Thursday: The country is lifting its exorbitant tariffs on Australian wine, the Associated Press reported.

The decision, which will go into effect on Friday, will bring more Australian bottles into China, benefitting both China’s drinkers and Australia’s vineyards and wineries. It’s also a sign of improving relations between the two countries, which have been at odds over the past few years.

“We are willing to work with Australia to resolve each other’s concerns through dialogue and consultation and jointly promote the stable and healthy development of bilateral economic and trade relations,” He Yadong, a spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Commerce, told the AP, adding that China and Australia are “each other’s important trade partners.”

Back in 2020, China implemented tariffs on Australian wine that raised duties on the product more than 200 percent, the Associated Press noted. The move was part of a larger suite of sanctions that China imposed on Australia, in part due to Australia calling for an investigation into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic. With China being the biggest market for Australian wine, Australian producers experienced a steep decline in profits.

Prior to the Chinese tariffs, in 2019, the wine trade was worth some 1.1 billion Australian dollars, or $710 million, according to the AP. In the year ending December 2022, the value of wine exported to China had fallen to just 12.4 million Australian dollars, or $8.3 million, Deirdre Cook, Wine Australia’s marketing manager in the United States, told Robb Report in April 2023. (The tariffs did in some ways benefit American drinkers, though, with more premium Australian wines being reallocated to the U.S.)

Now, with fewer restrictions on the trade, Australia is expecting to see more wine sent to China in the coming months and years, barring any other challenges.

“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,” Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Thursday prior to the tariff announcement. “China wants good high-quality wine and Australia produces it.”

While that’s a good thing for Chinese wine drinkers, hopefully it doesn’t mean that all the Americans who have developed a palate for Australian wines get left in the dust now.

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Source: Robb Report

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