Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has told a press conference at the Quad Leaders’ Summit in Tokyo, that there is “no justification” for the sanctions that China has placed on Australia, including crippling wine tariffs, and that they “should be removed”.
China imposed “anti-dumping” tariffs on Australian wine in November 2020, which has had a huge impact on the amount of Australian wine imported by China. In 2020 nearly the value of Australian wine going to China was nearly $900m, but the most recent Wine Australia Export Report said that in 2021 that figure had fallen by more than $840m.
When asked about relations with China, the Prime Minister said: “With regard to our relations, Australia seeks good relations with all countries. But it’s not Australia that’s changed, China has.
“It is China that has placed sanctions on Australia. There is no justification for doing that. And that’s why they should be removed.”
The previous government initiated a dispute over the tariffs with the World Trade Organization, which appointed its panellists to adjudicate the matter.
Australian Grape and Wine chief executive Tony Battaglene welcomed the appointment of three independent experts, saying: “They’ve got considerable experience in the WTO and they’re genuinely independent so our hope is that they will look at the evidence and adjudicate it in the correct manner.
“I’m very confident that we will come out winners.”
Although the panel has been appointed the process of investigation, review, submissions and rebuttals means it could be at least 12 months before the issue is resolved.