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

In a recent meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, the Australia China Business Council emphasized that China is “opening up” to foreign investment. Despite this positive development, business leaders are cautious about high expectations of all producers returning to the market once tariffs on Australian wine imports are lifted.

David Olsson, the National President of the business lobby group, spoke to Bloomberg during the Boao Forum in China and highlighted concerns from Australian businesses about the importance of predictability and certainty, especially for longer-term investments in the Chinese market. 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 the election of the center-left Labor government in May 2022. 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 Samantha Johnson

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