China is imposing preliminary anti-dumping measures on wine imports from Australia including tariffs up to 200%, in a move that Australia has described as unjustifiable.
The announcement was made by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce on 27 November, with tariffs between 107.1% to 212.1% coming into force the day after. Despite calling the tariffs temporary, China has announced no fixed end dates.
Australia says the move looks to be about diplomatic grievances rather than any action by winemakers, as reported by Reuters. Australia’s trade minister Simon Birmingham said the tariffs were a devastating blow to businesses who trade with China, as it “will render unviable for many businesses, their wine trade with China”.
The move comes after China launched an anti-dumping probe into Australian wine imports back in August and a build-up of tension between the two countries over commodities trade.
This year, China has imposed tariffs on Australian barley, suspended meat imports, while Chinese importers were told to expect customs delays across seven categories of Australian products from coal to seafood from November.
According to the government, China takes 37% of Australia’s total wine exports, an industry worth AUD 2.9 billion ($2.14 billion).
Importers bringing in Australian wine will now need to pay deposits to China’s customs authority, which will be calculated based on different rates the authority has assigned to various companies.
Treasury Wine Estates – which saw its share price fall more than 13% after the announcement was made – is required to pay 169.3%, making it the highest among all the named wine firms.
“The Australian Government categorically rejects any allegation that our wine producers are dumping product into China, and we continue to believe there is no basis or any evidence for these claims,” said Australia’s agriculture minister, David Littleproud.
As reported by Reuters, China’s foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that the measures were in line with Chinese laws and regulations and urged Australia to do more to enhance mutual trust between the countries.