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Beijing has launched a evaluate of punitive tariffs that had been positioned on Australian wine in 2020 within the newest signal of thawing relations between the 2 international locations forward of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s go to to China subsequent month.
It’s the first time that an Australian chief has visited China in seven years and follows a interval of pressure between the 2 international locations after former prime minister Scott Morrison publicly known as for an inquiry into the origins of Covid-19 in 2020. The transfer triggered a backlash in China with Beijing imposing a spread of sanctions and tariffs on Australian merchandise.
Albanese confirmed over the weekend that he would go to China on November fourth for a 3 day state go to the place he’ll meet President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Qiang. Since Albanese was elected in 2022, diplomatic pressure between Australia and China has eased and commerce restrictions between the 2 international locations have been lifted.
Albanese mentioned that China nonetheless accounts for nearly a 3rd of Australia’s commerce and he welcomed the expedited evaluate of the tariffs on wine, which is predicted to take round 5 months. The 2 international locations have suspended a dispute lodged with the World Commerce Group over the difficulty.
“I welcome the progress we now have made to return Australian merchandise, together with Australian wine, to the Chinese language market. Robust commerce advantages each international locations,” Albanese mentioned.
Australian exports together with coal and barley had been simply routed to completely different markets however the wine trade — hit with tariffs of as much as 175 per cent — struggled to manage.
Wine exports to China dropped from A$1.2bn ($757mn) previous to the tariffs being imposed to solely A$8mn within the yr to this point based on the Australian Grape and Wine commerce physique.
Forward of the state go to, China launched Australian journalist Cheng Lei from detention earlier in October. Final week, Albanese’s Labor authorities opted towards revoking a lease held by a Chinese language firm on the northern port of Darwin after a nationwide safety evaluate.
Australia can also be set to take away anti-dumping measures on the import of Chinese language wind generators, which has been welcomed by Beijing as a step in direction of bilateral co-operation.
A resumption of bulk exports to China would supply some reduction to Australia’s purple wine trade which has struggled with overcapacity prior to now yr. Rabobank has estimated that there are over 2bn litres of wine, or 2.8bn bottles, in storage in Australia.
Tim Ford, chief government of Treasury Wine Estates which is Australia’s largest wine producer, mentioned the tariff evaluate was “nice information” and that the trade would stay up for a “new period” as talks progress.
“There are solely positives to come back out of a beneficial tariff evaluate for the Chinese language client, prospects and wine class, for the Australian wine trade and for TWE,” he mentioned.