In October last year, it was announced that Australia would suspend its World Trade Organisation (WTO) dispute over China’s wine tariffs, having successfully reached an agreement for China to review the duties on Australian wine.

Following Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s trip to China in November, he revealed at a press conference in Adelaide on Wednesday, that he expects the exports of Australian wine to China to resume very soon, with the review set to conclude in March.

When asked if there was an end in sight for the duties on Australian wine, the Prime Minister said: “I expect a resolution that will allow for wine to be back into China very soon. I have indicated very clearly when I was in China that it is in Australia’s interest, but it’s also in China’s interests.

“You know why? Because it’s bloody good wine. It’s a good product. Australia produces good products at good prices and it is in the world’s best interest to receive them. It’s certainly in Australia’s interests for those jobs to be created. And I know that for the South Australian wine industry, as well as the wine industry of the Hunter Valley, of Western Australia, Tasmania, we are a great wine producing nation and it’s an important product.

“What we want to make sure is that [when] that market is reopened up, that the tariffs are reduced. We had discussions very directly with China about that. The review will conclude by the end of March and we’re very confident that that will see a benefit to Australia.”

After the loss of China as a major trading partner and the subsequent decline of exports, wine associations and producers have welcomed the tariff review, seeing it as an encouraging step forward in the removal of Chinese import duties on Australian wine.

“We know that the South Australian wine industry had some bumper crops in recent years and that it is absolutely vital as an industry that employs tens of thousands of Australians directly, but indirectly as well,” the Prime Minister continued.

“One of the things about McLaren and Barossa and Clare and the Adelaide Hills is it’s not just directly the jobs in the wine industry, they’re central to the South Australian tourism industry, they’re central in the multiplier factor that applies.”

In a radio interview with Triple M Adelaide, also on Wednesday 17 January, the Prime Minister said: “[South Australia] is a beautiful state and the wine industry has been an important part of that. And that’s why we really prioritise putting our shoulder to the wheel and making a difference.

“For the Chinese market is of course, over a billion people and that makes an enormous difference, a growing middle class and we want those jobs and that economic benefit to flow as freely as the wine does.”

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