China hits Australian wine imports with new tariffs

Imports and Exports | | MIC Customs Solutions |

China has imposed new anti-dumping tariffs on Australian wine imports as disputes between the two nations continue to grow.

China has imposed new tariffs on imports of Australian wine to the country, in the latest escalation of tensions between the two Asia-Pacific nations.

The latest measures will mean importers have to pay deposits of between 107 and 212 per cent of the value of their goods at customs.

China has used anti-dumping measures to justify the new tariffs, with the country saying they are necessary in order to address "substantive harm" being done to its domestic wine industry by cheap imports.

The Australian government, however, has rejected this, with trade minister Simon Birmingham describing the dumping accusations as "erroneous in fact and in substance".

At a news conference on Friday (November 27th), he called the tariffs "grossly unfair, unwarranted [and] unjustified". He also said the moves increase the perception that China is using its trading policy as part of a deliberate strategy to put pressure on its critics overseas.

It has already suspended the import of several products from Australia, including beef and timber.

Political relations between China and Australia have been strained for some time, despite the fact both countries signed the new Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership in October. 

Issues including China's human rights record, Australia's decision to ban the use of Chinese firm Huawei in its 5G network, and Canberra's call for investigations into the origins of the coronavirus have all contributed to the frosty ties. 

Last month, China presented a dossier of 14 grievances to Australian media as the spat escalated.

China's foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Australia "should do some deep introspection" and "reflect on whether they have respected China's interests" if it wants to improve ties.

In 2019, China imported a record AU$1.3 billion (US$900 million) worth of wine, making it the largest overseas market for Australian producers. Around 37 per cent of Australian wine exports head to China.