Australia will ‘vigorously defend’ its wine industry against China, minister says

Australia will “vigorously defend” its wine industry because it faces larger tariffs from China, the nation’s agriculture minister stated.

“While China … may want to play games with respect to market mechanisms, we have the opportunities to send this product into other markets because of the quality of it,” David Littleproud, Australia’s minister for agriculture, drought and emergency administration informed CNBC’s Will Koulouris.

China’s Ministry of Commerce introduced Friday that it will impose anti-dumping duties some Australian wine imports from March 28. Beijing claims that Australia has been dumping and subsidizing its wine exports, which has harm China’s home wine sector consequently.

“We’re just deeply disappointed with this decision, and we don’t subsidize our farmers,” Littleproud stated. “Of the 37 OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries in the world, there’s only one country that is seen to subsidize their farmers less than Australia,” he stated with out offering additional particulars.

“Australian wine is the second highest price point wine in China,” the minister stated. “You don’t go and dump a high quality product … into a market such as China.”

We need to be mature about this and once they’re prepared to speak … on the premise of what we have supplied to them, then we’ll be there for them. But till they’re ready to try this, it’s going to be very tough.

David Littleproud

Australia’s minister for agriculture, drought and emergency administration

Relations between Canberra and Beijing soured after Australia supported a call for an international inquiry into China’s dealing with of the coronavirus, which was first reported within the Chinese metropolis of Wuhan.

Since then, China has taken a spread of measures that impede Australia’s exports to the nation together with anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on Australian barley and an import ban on a number of crimson meat abattoirs. Other merchandise which have been caught in the crossfire of tensions between China and Australia embody lobsters, cotton, coal and iron ore.

Australia is without doubt one of the few developed nations on the planet that exports more than it imports to China, and Canberra has requested the World Trade Organization to mediate a dispute over duties on the nation’s barley within the Chinese market.

For his half, Littleproud stated he has reached out to his counterpart in China asking for dialogue.

“We’re not gonna throw our toys out of the cot. We want to be mature about this and when they’re ready to talk … on the basis of what we’ve provided to them, then we’ll be there for them. But until they’re prepared to do that, it’ll be very difficult,” he stated.

— CNBC’s Saheli Roy Choudhury contributed to this report.

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