As of Saturday, 28 November, China will hit Australian wine with tariffs of up to 212% - doubling or even tripling the price of Australian wine in China.
Australia’s trade minister Simon Birmingham told the media that, “This is a devastating blow to those businesses that trade with China in the wine industry.” He went on to say that China will now be an “unviable” market for wine exporters.
Shares in Treasury Wine Estates, the producer of Penfolds Grange, fell by more than 11% on the news.
The new tariffs are widely perceived in Australia to be payback from the Chinese government over Australia’s robust stance on a number of issues, including backing a global enquiry into the origins of the coronavirus, and objections to China’s crackdown on Hong Kong and its treatment of the Uighur people. According to the BBC, China has since warned students and tourists against travelling to Australia because of racism.
China has imposed tariffs on a number of other Australian goods, including barley. The media also reports that up to 60 ships carrying Australian coal are stranded off the coast of China, unable to enter the port.
Australia exports A$1.2bn ($885km) worth of wine to China each year, which represents just under 40% of its total wine exports. As well as being devastating to Australia’s wine sector, the new tariffs signal an ominous new chapter in international relations.