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China could lift all trade restrictions by year’s end – media report

Manufacturing News

Australia’s trade minister Don Farrell predicts that China could lift its punitive trade restrictions on $20 billion worth of Australian exports by the end of the year, according to reports in Channel 9 newspapers.

On the eve of his departure to China for the first meeting of trade ministers since 2019, Farrell told the newspapers he was very positive about the visit and that all major trade restrictions would soon be lifted.

He said: “I’m very hopeful we are heading down the track to resolving all of these outstanding issues.”

While punitive tariffs and restrictions are in place mainly for agricultural exports of barley, beef and lobsters, for manufacturing the damage is being done to our once fast-growing exports of wine.

A 175.6 per cent import duty applies to Australian origin wine.

Wine exports to China were worth more than $1.3 billion a year before China responded to questioning by the former Coalition government about the source of the Covid pandemic.

They have since collapsed to only $12.4 million a year, harming numerous small producers and forcing large manufacturers such as Treasury Wine Estates to tackle alternative markets and move upmarket by emphasising premium wine sales.

The federal government has suspended a World Trade Organisation (WTO) dispute with China over bans on Australian barley, opening the way for a thaw in relations.

During his visit Farrell will meet Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao and invite him to visit Australia and travel to Farrell’s family winery in the Clare Valley of South Australia.

Further reading:Treasury wine improves on premiumisation

Picture: Treasury Wine Estates

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