Long way to go for winemakers, as China relations thaw

In Alcohol, Business Resources, China, Featured Home Page News, National Headlines

Winemakers and farmers are one step closer to having tariffs removed following a meeting between Australian and Chinese trade ministers, which has paved the way for brutal trade tariffs on Australian exports to be lifted.

After Beijing ended its shutout at the weekend, Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong renewed calls for China to remove arbitrary sanctions on many Australian products.

Senator Farrell said he would push for China’s tariffs on Australian wine, barley, beef, timber and lobster exports to be scrapped while vowing to manage the “complex” relationship with Beijing.

“The trade relationship between our nations has benefited both sides and, while there’s work to be done, we hope it can continue to do so,” he said.

SA Wine Industry Association boss Brian Smedley acknowledged the dialogue as “one step forward”.

“But there’s a lot of steps forward still to go,” Mr Smedley said, adding it was “early days” for many businesses attempting to branch out into new global markets to avoid China’s wine tariffs of up to 212 per cent.

“Figures are promising in the first 15 months since the tariffs were imposed (in 2020), but we’ve got a long, long way to go,” he said.

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from adelaide now

The end of a two-year diplomatic freeze with China has paved the way for brutal trade tariffs on Australian exports to be lifted, but local winemakers and farmers warn there is a long road ahead for businesses.

After Beijing ended its shutout at the weekend, Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong renewed calls for China to remove arbitrary sanctions on many Australian products.

“We believe dialogue is in the interests of both countries,” Senator Wong told The Advertiser on Monday.

“We will take every opportunity to advocate for Australian exporters and to call for the removal of unjustified trade strikes.”

In his first big test as Trade Minister, Don Farrell is in Geneva, Switzerland, this week on a crucial mission to revive negotiations over a European free trade deal. He also met with Indian counterpart Piyush Goyal to discuss a comprehensive free-trade agreement early on Monday morning (Adelaide time).

Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong renewed calls for Beijing to end its tariffs on Australian products. Picture: AFP Photo / Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade / Sarah Friend

Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong renewed calls for Beijing to end its tariffs on Australian products. Picture: AFP Photo / Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade / Sarah Friend

Indian minister Piyush Goyal meets Australian Trade Minister Don Farrell on the sidelines of the World Trade Organisation's 12th Ministerial Conference in Geneva, Switzerland. Picture: Piyush Goyal/ Twitter

Indian minister Piyush Goyal meets Australian Trade Minister Don Farrell on the sidelines of the World Trade Organisation’s 12th Ministerial Conference in Geneva, Switzerland. Picture: Piyush Goyal/ Twitter

Senator Farrell flagged his intention to meet with China’s Commerce Minister Wang Wentao on the sidelines of the World Trade Organisation’s Ministerial Conference.

Senator Farrell said he would push for China’s tariffs on Australian wine, barley, beef, timber and lobster exports to be scrapped while vowing to manage the “complex” relationship with Beijing.

“The trade relationship between our nations has benefited both sides and, while there’s work to be done, we hope it can continue to do so,” he said.

SA Wine Industry Association boss Brian Smedley acknowledged the dialogue as “one step forward”.

“But there’s a lot of steps forward still to go,” Mr Smedley said, adding it was “early days” for many businesses attempting to branch out into new global markets to avoid China’s wine tariffs of up to 212 per cent.

“Figures are promising in the first 15 months since the tariffs were imposed (in 2020), but we’ve got a long, long way to go,” he said.

Defence Minister Richard Marles held a meeting with Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe in Singapore at the weekend – ending a diplomatic freeze imposed in 2020 after Beijing became angered with the Morrison government’s push for an inquiry into the origins of Covid-19. Mr Marles said he raised concerns about a Chinese fighter jet’s aggression towards an RAAF maritime aircraft over the South China Sea.

National Farmers Federation chief economist Ash Saladarni said the talks were “positive”, though exporters did not expect a sudden return to “business as usual”.

Opposition foreign affairs spokesman Simon Birmingham said: “China’s agreement to now engage in ministerial level meetings is welcome but the test of their value will be in the outcomes they achieve”.

“All Chinese trade sanctions on Australia should be fully lifted without any strings attached or any acquiescence to Chinese demands,” he said.

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