Swan Valley Winemakers Association president Lauren Pileggi says the tariffs led to winemakers diversifying their markets. Picture: Gera Kazakov

Winemakers rejoice as China set to drop wine tariffs

Chinese tariffs on Australian wine are set between 107 and 212 per cent after a feud between the nations in 2020.
October 26, 2023
Gera Kazakov

CHINESE tariffs on Australian wine are being reviewed by Beijing, with the review set to take five months, after 200 per cent plus tariffs on Australian wine were implemented during a trade dispute between Australian and China in 2020.

The move comes after the tariff on Australian barley was dropped in August, as Swan Valley Winemakers Association president Lauren Pileggi said winemakers across the whole country have been hurting under the tariffs.

Ms Pileggi said that while the Swan Valley was a relatively low-export region, the tariffs being dropped will see tourism increase in the Swan Valley alongside winemakers re-entering a crucial market.

“I just think it’s great news for the industry as a whole,” she said.

“It gets the Australian brand and the Australian product back out there and we all know we make premium wine, and it will be good that more people can enjoy it.

“We’ve even seen an increase in the Chinese populations that are coming out. They’ll come out, they’ll visit wineries and breweries and all our tourism spots and facilities around the valley, and that for us is an absolute bonus.”

Curtin University Economics Professor Helen Cabalu said there is a high likelihood that the wine tariffs will be dropped, and that Australia and China are slowly repairing their relationship following a period of strained ties.

Ms Cabalu said that both countries engaged in a series of retaliatory measures against each other in recent years, which included China putting tariffs on Australian barley, beef, coal and wine in 2020, and Australia disallowing Chinese-owned telecommunications infrastructure into the country’s 5G network.

“However, the relationship has started to loosen with very recent dialogues between senior officials from both countries engaging in discussions about opening bilateral trade, people-to-people links and other commercial prospects,” she said.

Ms Cabalu was confident the lobster tariffs would soon follow suit, and said both Australia and China will both benefit from the wine tariff being removed.

“Removal of tariffs would mean that the Australian wine price paid by Chinese importers will decline making Australian wine competitive,” she said.    

“To demonstrate the significant gain for Australian wine exporters and producers, before tariffs were imposed, Australian wine exports to China were valued at more than $1 billion. When tariffs were imposed, this figure declined to $12 million.

“On the other hand, Chinese (wine) consumers stand to benefit as well, as Australian wine will now retail at a lower price in China’s domestic market.”

Ms Cabalu said it was a possibility that there could be an increase domestic wine prices due to our domestic market being channelled into exports, however Ms Pileggi said it was too early to say.

“Markets are hard to judge, so it’ll just be a case of wait and see,” she said.

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