China has reached a deal with Australia on a “proper settlement” of World Trade Organization disputes over wine and wind towers, the Chinese commerce ministry said on Sunday.
China is willing to work with the Australian side to meet each other halfway through dialogue and consultation, and to jointly promote the stable and healthy development of bilateral economic and trade relations, the ministry said.
Meanwhile, the Australian PM Anthony Albanese said, “We have agreed on the issue of wine for there to be a review of China’s position on wine tariffs to be conducted over the next months, similar to the way that barley was developed.”
He further added, “We will suspend our action before the WTO, but we’re very confident that this will result in once again Australian wine, a great product, being able to go to China free of the tariffs which have been imposed by China.”
The decision means worth more than a billion dollars in Australia’s exports, and a very significant decision. Unlike some of the other products, the wine industry have indicated they were having difficulty finding other markets to fill the gap that was created by the breakdown in the trade with China, the Australian PM said.
The breakthrough potentially clears the way for the resumption of imports worth $800 million a year before the duties were imposed in 2020. The move is the latest in a diplomatic thaw between the two countries that has already seen China lift restrictions on imports of Australian commodities such as coal, timber and barley worth billions of dollars.
China announced in November 2020 it would impose anti-dumping and countervailing duties of up to 218% on most Australian wine, causing trade to collapse. The measures were part of a barrage of trade restrictions that China imposed after Australia called for an inquiry into the origins of COVID-19.
Albanese also said on Sunday he would travel to China from November 4 to 7 to meet with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Qiang in a bid to stabilize relations between the two countries. It will be the first trip by an Australian leader to China since 2016.
(Input from Reuters)