China has agreed to reassess the import tax placed on Australian wine.
After a breakthrough in negotiations between officials, China has consented to examine the import duties they placed on Australian wine back in 2020. This would be a major relief for Aussie wine producers, who have been struggling in an increasingly volatile market over the past few years.
An exciting announcement
Mark Bourne, NSW Wine Industry Association President announced on 23 October that Prime Minister Albanese had entered into talks with China. The aim was to review the duties placed on Australian wine, which are currently sitting at 220 percent.
“This is an encouraging step forward that will hopefully lead to the removal of Chinese import duties on Australian wine,” said Mark Bourne.
“It is a very difficult time for the wine industry. Following several seasons of challenging weather events and the Covid pandemic, we are now facing worldwide falling consumer demands and an oversupply of wine. The announcement of a potential pathway to resolve the multi-year trade dispute, and the reopening of the Chinese market, is positive news for many grape growers and winemakers across NSW.”
While Australia’s wine exports to China were previously worth $1.2 billion every year, this has been steadily declining since the introduction of import duties in 2020. In fact, within the first year of this tax, sales to China dropped by 97 percent.
According to the Wine Australia Export Approvals Database, Australia exported around 62 million litres of wine between 2021-22, valued at $2.31 billion. However, it also reports that the 2022-23 exports declined to $1.79 billion.
This can be attributed to a number of causes including cost of living pressures, decline in wine consumption, and taxes such as the ones imposed by China.
In a recent report, Wine Australia suggested that “exceptionally tough global trading conditions have prevailed since 2020,” highlighting the importance of exports for the Australian economy.
The next steps
Experts believe that it may take the Chinese Government up to five months to review its current taxes. It has also been reported that Australia’s case against China with the World Trade Organization, which claims that China’s anti-dumping and countervailing methods aren’t in alignment with the current trade agreement, will come to an end if the duties are removed.
Leaders wish to see a mutually beneficial agreement between the two countries.
“NSW Wine has been active in supporting engagement with China that reaches beyond just commerce. Particularly at an industry-to-industry level and in promoting collaboration in research, technology and sustainability which has all added to increasingly positive dialogue between Australia and China,” says Mark Bourne.
“Under the current circumstances, we are hopeful that the proposed approach is the best way for the Australian wine industry to achieve its desired result within the shortest time frame.”
To read more about Australia’s wine industry, click here.