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No sour grapes on Aust wine imports: China

www.sbs.com.au by 24/05/2018  

China is handling customs processes as normal for imports of Australian wines, the Chinese Foreign Ministry says after Treasury Wine Estates claimed it faced delays getting some products into the country.

Treasury Wine, the world's biggest listed winemaker, disclosed the issue last week as Australian Trade Minister Steve Ciobo began a China visit aimed at repairing ties with his country's largest trading partner after a recent souring in relations.

Speaking at a daily news briefing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang referred specific questions on Treasury Wine to the customs administration.

But he added: "According to what we know of the situation, it can be said that the Chinese customs and relevant import inspection and quarantine departments are handling the relevant entry applications according to normal procedures".

China and Australia have all along been in communication about this matter, Lu added, without providing further details.

China's customs authorities have yet to comment on the matter.

Relations between the two countries have cooled since late 2017 when the Turnbull's government proposed a bill to limit foreign influence in Australia, including political donations. Beijing saw the move as "anti-China".

The diplomatic rift spilled into the trade arena last week with the wine issue, raising fears among other Australian exporters that depend on access to China.