Australia stands up to China on wine tariffs

Augusta Margaret River Times
Hazel's Vineyard, previously known as Rocky Road Vineyard, has attained biodynamic certification. Photo: Supplied
Camera IconHazel's Vineyard, previously known as Rocky Road Vineyard, has attained biodynamic certification. Photo: Supplied

Australia is taking its fight with China over wine tariffs to the international trading body because of the "serious harm" caused to the industry.

The federal government has gone to the World Trade Organisation to ask for consultations with the Chinese government over the issue.

Trade Minister Dan Tehan said exports had dropped from $1.1 billion to about $20 million as a result of the duties the Chinese government placed on the country’s wine.

"We believe that the actions taken by the Chinese government have caused serious harm to the Australian wine industry," he said.

But Mr Tehan said the government was still willing to sit down with the Chinese government to resolve the dispute.

"While we’re not in a position to do so, we will use every other mechanism to try and resolve this dispute and other disputes that we have with the Chinese government," he said.

In March this year Beijing said the tariffs would run for five years.

The national association of grape and wine producers welcomed the move to take the fight to the international body.

The decision was the "right call" for the country’s grape and wine businesses, Australian Grape and Wine boss Tony Battaglene said the decision was the right call.

"We have been consistent in our position that Australian producers have not dumped wine on the Chinese market, nor received trade-distorting subsidies," he said.

He said the body would continue to work with grape growers, winemakers and the government to diversify the export market.

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