Wine associations and producers have welcomed the announcement that China has agreed to expedite a review of its wine import duties on Australian wine.

Ahead of the Prime Minister visiting China next month, China’s Commerce Ministry said it would conduct the review, leading Australia to say it would suspend its WTO dispute over the tariffs.

Australian Grape & Wine CEO, Lee McLean, said the review was another important step in the resumption of Australian wine exports to China.

“It has been a very difficult time for Australia’s grape growers and wine producers in recent years following the loss of China as our major trading partner, the global pandemic and various weather events, so this is very welcome news for grape growers and winemakers across the country,” McLean said.

“The review process by the Chinese Government is expected to take five months and Australian Grape & Wine will engage in and support that process in any way we can. We understand Australia will suspend the wine dispute in the World Trade Organisation pending the outcome of this review.

“Australian Grape & Wine has worked closely with the Australian Government and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade over recent years to foster a mutually beneficial solution that advances the interests both Australia and China. We acknowledge the work of ministers and officials in rebalancing the relationship with China, facilitating the resumption of trade in commodities such as coal, timber, barley and hay.”

Treasury Wine Estates CEO Tim Ford, was also happy about the review announcement, he said: “It’s great news to see an agreement for a path forward to allow our Australian brands and wine to be sold in the Chinese market.

“There are only positives to come out of a favourable tariff review for the Chinese consumer, customers and wine category, for the Australian wine industry and for TWE.

“Both governments have worked constructively to achieve this outcome and we now look forward to a new era of positive engagement that will ultimately build a strong and growing China wine category should the review see the removal of these tariffs.” 

NSW Wine Industry Association President Mark Bourne, said the announcement was an encouraging step forward that will hopefully lead to the removal of Chinese import duties on Australian wine

“It is currently a very difficult time for the wine industry,” Bourne said. “Following several seasons of challenging weather events and the Covid pandemic, we are now facing worldwide falling consumer demand and an oversupply of wine.

“The announcement of a potential pathway to resolve the multi-year trade dispute, and the reopening of the Chinese market, is positive news for many grape growers and winemakers across NSW.

“Under the current circumstances, we are hopeful that the proposed approach is the best way for the Australian wine industry to achieve its desired result within the shortest time frame.”

Andrew Calabria, third generation family member and Sales & Marketing Director of the Calabria Family Wine Group, said that the announcement “brings a renewed sense of hope for Australian winemakers and grape growers.”

He added: “As a fellow Australian wine producer, we understand the immense challenges faced by the industry due to the imposed tariffs.

“We commend all wine industry organisations involved for their efforts in reaching this positive development. We are grateful for the chance to have our wines potentially regain access to this important market. We remain committed to producing exceptional wines and delivering the utmost quality to our customers worldwide.

“At Calabria Family Wine Group, we recognise the significance of the Chinese market and the impact it has on our industry. The imposed tariffs not only affected our company but also led to the loss of valuable relationships with our Chinese buyers. We are eager to rebuild those connections and regain the trust and support of our customers.”

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.

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