China is cutting excise duties on Australian wine for 5 years as trade escalates

The duties, which range from 116% to 218%, were announced Friday and come after an investigation by the Chinese authorities of ‘dumping and [market] damage. They come into effect on Sunday.

Australian Grape & Wine Chief Executive Tony Battaglene told Bloomberg on Friday that the industry group will likely recommend filing a complaint with the World Trade Organization. Until recently, China was the largest export market for Australian wine.

Relations between Australia and China began to deteriorate last April after Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for an international investigation into the origins of the coronavirus. A number of Australian exports – including timber, beef and some coal – soon began to have difficulties entering the Chinese market.

Chinese investment in Australia fell to just over 1 billion Australian dollars ($ 763 million) in 2020, down 62% from the previous year, according to a report published earlier this month by the Chinese Investment in Australia Database from the Australian National University.
The Australian wine industry was at the center of the storm. The Chinese Ministry of Commerce imposed temporary tariffs of up to 212% on Australian wine imports in November following an anti-dumping investigation.

The value of wine exports to China fell to almost zero in December, statistics from industry group Wine Australia show.

Laura He and Ben Westcott contributed to the report.