Wine growers take an extra swig as China rubber stamps end to heavy tariffs

The Chinese don’t celebrate easter but have given local winemakers the best Easter possible by abolishing crippling tariffs on Australian wine

Chinese imposed tariffs that ended a healthy $1.1 billion a year export trade for local winegrowers have been lifted

When the Morrison government went into a stinging attack on the ethics of Chinese diplomats back in 2020, they didn’t bank on encountering a wrath of tariffs of over 200% on Wine and other luxury imports imposed on Australian goods.

But that slinging match cost wine growers an estimated $4.4 billion worth of exports to China officially ends on Easter Friday 29 March 2024.

Local wine growers will be moving quickly to get back a trade worth $1.1 billion a year that has dwindled down to as low as a few $million per annum.

Owing a vineyard never looked so good as the Chinese palate gets locally grown wine back at a very reasonable price for one of the best overall drops

The current Albanese government has had very few wins in agriculture since coming into power in May 2022 as they appear to be more interested in overall social justice for the masses than boosting local farm gate sales into world markets.

But this is a win nevertheless for an Albanese government that is viewed as lackadaisical to apprehensive by most farming quarters.

It was only as recent as five months ago that Beijing actually agreed to review the tariffs on trade barriers it had placed on around $20 billion of Australian exports in late 2020 and during 2021. Tariffs that basically halted all farm gate trade.

From there it has taken since early March 2024 for the Chinese Commerce Ministry to announce an interim decision that some tariffs on goods of up to 220%, including wine could be axed.

Since then and saving face, the Commerce Ministry in Beijing has said it’s no longer necessary to impose anti-dumping duties and countervailing duties on the imports of the relevant wines originating in Australia. With tariffs on wine from 175.6% for the Penfolds label and up to 212% on others ending today.

But it has come with some concessions, such as Australia suspending an appeal to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), that was initiated by the former Morrison coalition government.

In a joint statement from Trade Minister Don Farrell and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, they welcomed the decision, “It comes at a critical time for the industry.

“The re-entry of Australian bottled wine into the Chinese market will benefit both Australian producers and Chinese consumers.

“We acknowledge and thank Australian grape growers and wine producers for their fortitude and support during a challenging period.

“The removal of duties means that Australia will discontinue its legal proceedings at the World Trade Organisation.”

With the 2024 vintage ready to barrel top South Australian vineyards such as Inkwell in McLaren Vale with Irina Santiago-Brown in charge using Regenerative Organic principals will soon get back its Chinese customers

This latest decision paves the way to recommence luxury produce trade with China with the most noticeable exceptions being the previous $700 million rock lobster trade, and some high-grade meatworks that are still in limbo as they are blocked by high tariffs from the Chinese market.

In addressing the few remaining inhibitors, the prime minister and trade minister said, “Those barriers could also be lifted soon.

“We will continue to press for all remaining trade impediments affecting Australian exports to be removed, which is in the interests of both Australia and China,” the joint statement added.

Beijing has lifted hefty tariffs on our exports of barley and has also placed a tick against coal and cotton as the realisation of fewer suppliers to current world markets has seen some dramatic increases in the price of landed goods on Chinese soil.