As of Saturday, the Chinese government is introducing tariffs on all Australian wine imports, following an investigation into Aussie wine exports which revealed preliminarily that dumping exists, causing “substantial damage” to Chinese winemakers.
The Australian government has rejected any such claims. But, while the investigation is not expected to be concluded until next year, China’s Commerce Ministry has announced that from 28 November preliminary tariffs, of between 107 per cent and 212 per cent, will take effect.
Earlier this month, China’s Commerce Ministry is believed to have given informal orders to importers to suspend orders of Australian wine and other types of exports.
The news was reported by China’s English-language The Global Times, with the paper revealing that the government has asked traders to stop purchasing everything from coal to sugar, wine and lobsters.
At the time, Prime Minister Scott Morrison referred to the news as “speculation”.
“I simply note that is not what China has said they’re doing. China has denied that is what they are doing and I can only take that at face value out of respect for the comprehensive strategic partnership we have with China and to work through the channels that we have under that relationship to address the issues that have arisen,” Mr Morrison said.
However, the government is taking China’s latest move seriously.
On Friday, Australia’s Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud issued a statement, expressing the Australian government’s “extreme disappointment” in the decision of Chinese authorities.
“The fact is Australia produces amongst the least subsidised product in the world and provides the second lowest level of farm subsidies in the OECD,” Mr Littleproud said.
He announced that Australia will “fight” to right the wrongs.
“Today’s decision is a seriously concerning development and one which Australia will be vigorously fighting against,” Mr Littleproud said.
“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.”
He noted that the government will continue to work with the Aussie wine industry and Chinese authorities as part of the ongoing dumping investigation, while “of course consider all of our options moving forward”.
“Australian wine is hugely popular both in China and across the globe due to its high quality and we are confident that a full and thorough investigation will confirm this,” Mr Littleproud said on Friday.