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China wine tariffs expected to be gone by end of March

abc.net.au by Nadia Daly27/02/2024  

The ABC understands that China is on track to lift tariffs of up to 200 per cent on Australian wine at the end of March after Trade Minister Don Farrell met with his Chinese counterpart Wang Wentao.

The two ministers held a meeting on the sidelines of a World Trade Organisation conference in Abu Dhabi on Monday night, where they discussed the tariffs, among other issues.

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Don Farrell meets with his Chinese counterpart Wang Wentao in Abu Dhabi in February 2024

In 2020, as part of the diplomatic fallout over investigations into the origin of COVID-19, China slapped hefty tariffs and trade restrictions onseveralAustralian industries, effectively halting exports from those sectors to China.

Most of those restrictions have now been removed, but theyremainon wine, lobster and some abattoirs.

Australia raised a dispute with the World Trade Organization (WTO) over the wine tariffs, before suspending it last October after China agreed to hold its own five month review, with the expectation it would remove the tariffs during that period.

The ABC has learned that during the high level meeting overnight the Chinese commerce minister indicated to Mr Farrell that the review was on track to conclude next month, with the wine tariffs to be lifted.

No indication was given on when China's remaining trade restrictions on lobster or beef would be lifted.

It will be welcome news for the wine industry, which washit hardby the tariffs of up to 200 per cent, with China then the industry's biggest export market, accounting for 40 per cent of the value of Australian wine exports.