China eliminates tariff on Australian wine after three years

Good news for Australia - and wine fans.
China - Business - China Wine Sales
China - Business - China Wine Sales / Qilai Shen/GettyImages

On March 29, China lifted its tariffs against Australian wine imports, which had been in place for nearly four years.

It was in late 2020 when Beijing enforced steep duties and trade barriers on Australian wine imports through anti-dumping and anti-subsidy tariffs. This was done as an act of retaliation against the Australian government for supporting a global investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since then, diplomatic relations have steadily improved between the two nations, leading to the tariffs being lifted. But the impact of these tariffs have been felt by Australian winemakers since they were put in place. 

Prior to the tariffs being implemented, wine being exported from Australia to China was duty-free. For the past three years that duty was over two-hundred percent. 

This had a strong negative effect on the landscape of the Australian wine market as nearly 30% of their exports were going to China before 2020. This number fell to below 1% in the early months of 2023.

Winemakers from Australia are hopeful that they can reestablish their market in China, but they are going to be more cautious and methodical in their decision-making, steering away from the over-reliance on exports into China as they had been prior to 2020. 

Regional managing director for Asia at Accolade Wines, Sean Cunial, spoke with Just Drinks Magazine and voiced his optimism for the new development in trade between Australia and China. Saying that there had been “significant change (in the Chinese market) since the introduction of the tariffs”.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce reinforced this by releasing a statement on Thursday, March 28, one day before the lifting of the tariffs, saying that “Given the situation in China’s wine market has changed, the anti-dumping and anti-subsidy tariff imposed on wine imported from Australia is no longer necessary”.

Australian winemakers are expected to be less dependent on their markets in China but will continue their efforts to restore the revenue lost while the tariffs were being imposed.