China has announced that it has launched an investigation into wine imports from Australia, in a move that has further heightened the tension between the two nations.
China’s Ministry of Commerce announced the anti-dumping investigation yesterday, alleging that Australia has been subsidising wine exports.
At the request of the Chinese Alcoholic Drinks Association, the ministry will investigate whether Australia is ‘dumping’ wine for low prices and therefore pricing out smaller Chinese wineries.
Australia’s biggest winemaker, Treasury Wine Estates (TWE), saw its market value shrink by almost 20 per cent following the announcement. China is Australia’s number one wine importer, with more than a third of Australian wine exported to the Asian country.
A statement released by TWE today read: “TWE will of course co-operate with any requests that we receive for information from Chinese or Australian authorities.”
TWE has had a long and respectful relationship with China over many years through its team, partners, customers and consumers.Treasury Wine Estates Statement
China is Australia’s largest trading partner, with trade between the two countries last year totalling $235 billion.
The Australian Grape & Wine group also released a statement expressing their full cooperation to any investigation stating that: “China is an important market for Australian wine and our wine is in demand from Chinese consumers.”
“Australia has a large number of exporters with close cultural ties to China. The Australian industry welcomes the opportunity to build on these ties and work with the Chinese industry and government to further technical cooperation and develop lasting relationships,” the Australian Grape & Wine statement read.
The news comes only months after China introduced tariffs on Australian barley and suspended beef imports, as well as advising Chinese students against travelling to Australia amid allegations of racist abuse.
Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said: “This is a very disappointing and perplexing development.”
Australian wine is highly sought after in China because of its quality. Australian wine is not sold at below-market prices and exports are not subsidised.Simon Birmingham – Trade Minister