The Minister for Trade and Tourism, Senator Don Farrell has said that his Chinese counterpart, Commerce Minister Wang Wentao, has “made it clear” that China’s review processes into tariffs on Australian wine “were on track”.

Speaking to the ABC after attending World Trade Organisation talks in Abu Dhabi, Minister Farrell said he had spoken to Minister Wang about the country’s on-going review of the wine tariffs.

“The discussions with the Chinese were all about the process which we set up four months ago to remove the unfair tariffs on Australian wine exports into China,” Minister Farrell said.

“You might recall that in exchange for us suspending our World Trade Organisation dispute over wine, we agreed for a fast-tracked Chinese review process, and in my discussions with Wang Wentao yesterday – it was my sixth meeting with him over the last 18 months – he made it clear that their processes were on track, and we would get a result by the end of March.”

The process that the Australian Government is undertaking is the same process that resulted in the successful lifting of tariffs and bans on Australian barley, with Australian farmers again able to export to China, so hope is growing of a similar outcome for Australia’s winemakers.

Farrell added: “I’m very confident that the discussions I had yesterday with Wang Wentao will result in them carrying through on what they undertook to do, which was to expedite the review of the tariffs, and that we’ll get a result on that in a few weeks’ time.

“We have made it very clear that we want those bans lifted. If we don’t get them lifted, then we will resume our World Trade Organisation dispute. But, I don’t want to do that. All the way along the line here, I’ve tried to sort out these trade issues by consultation rather than disputation.

“That’s what I want to do on this occasion. And, again, I’m hopeful that with goodwill on both sides, we can now resolve this issue and move on.”

The lifting of tariffs will come as a huge relief to many Australian winemakers, with Australian Vintage saying in its results report recently, that: “There are some strong, and encouraging, signals that China will commence re-ordering in Q4 of our financial year and we expect improved earnings from Asia in H2.”

It was a similar story for Treasury Wine Estates, which stated: “TWE is prepared and well placed to commence re-establishing its Australian country of origin portfolio in China, should there be a positive outcome from the review.”

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *