China Nearing Completion of Australia Wine Tariff Removal, Says Business Leader

The Australian government is hopeful that the Chinese government will soon lift heavy tariffs on imported wine, following a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. The Australia China Business Council (ACBC) emphasized during the meeting that China is “opening up” to foreign investment, but the ACBC’s National President, David Olsson, has warned against high expectations of all producers returning to the market once sanctions are lifted.

Speaking at the Boao Forum in China, Olsson highlighted concerns from Australian businesses about the importance of predictability and certainty for longer-term investments in the Chinese market. He acknowledged that while Australian business leaders understood the significance of the China market, they were not expecting a return to the pre-tariff era due to ongoing geopolitical tensions.

Trade relations between Australia and China have shown improvement since May 2022 when Labor won elections in Australia. Beijing has gradually lifted trade sanctions imposed on Australian exports during tensions, including restrictions on barley, timber, and coal. However, the most significant remaining sanctions are on Australian wine, with tariffs as high as 218%.

The Australian government is optimistic that wine tariffs will be removed by the end of March. Olsson mentioned that although there is hope for a significant portion of Australian wine to return to the Chinese market, not all of it is expected to. He noted that some producers are already exploring alternative markets.

By Riley Johnson

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