In a significant development aimed at improving relations between China and Australia, China has officially announced its intention to review the anti-dumping and anti-subsidy tariffs imposed on Australian wine imports. This long-anticipated move is seen as a crucial step towards easing tensions and enhancing trade cooperation between the two nations.
China's Commerce Ministry issued a statement on Thursday, stating its decision to commence the review process. The decision comes on the heels of last month's agreement between China and Australia, in which both countries reached a consensus to settle a dispute at the World Trade Organization (WTO) related to the wine industry. As part of this agreement, the anti-dumping tariffs, initially set to expire in 2026, would undergo a comprehensive review.
Shu Jueting, a spokesperson for the Commerce Ministry, emphasized their commitment to conducting the review in strict accordance with the law, ensuring the protection of the rights of all stakeholders involved. She stated, "We will adjudicate objectively, fairly and openly based on the claims of each interested party and after examining the evidence."
The Commerce Ministry also invited interested parties and stakeholders to submit their comments in writing within a 20-day period, thereby ensuring a transparent and inclusive evaluation process.
The imposition of a substantial 218% tax on the majority of Australian wine imports by China in 2021 had severely impacted this previously thriving trade, which was valued as high as $1.2 billion annually. This review announcement comes as a ray of hope for the Australian wine industry, which has been eagerly anticipating a resolution to this ongoing trade dispute.
A spokesperson from the Australian Trade Minister's Office expressed optimism regarding this development, stating, "This is good news for the thousands of Australians who work in the wine industry." The Australian government has actively engaged with China to seek a similar resolution as was achieved for Australian barley, which saw the expedited removal of duties.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has been actively working to improve relations with China, one of Australia's major trade partners. These efforts have been particularly significant given the strained relationship between the two countries in recent years, marked by disputes related to various issues, including Chinese telecoms firm Huawei, espionage concerns, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Albanese's visit to Beijing in early November marked a significant milestone, as he became the first sitting Australian leader to visit China since 2016. This move underscores the importance of dialogue and diplomacy in addressing trade and diplomatic challenges between the two nations.