Australian wine exports to China became the centre of a new trade wrangle on Tuesday as China launched an investigation into whether Australian winemakers were dumping wine at cheap prices, taking customers away from local producers.
Any move to threaten Australia’s wine exports to China would hit the industry hard as China is more than a third of the 3 billion-Australian-dollar (2.17-million-dollar) wine export market.
Australian Trade Minister, Simon Birmingham said in Adelaide, as cited by the national broadcaster ABC, said China’s move was troubling and unjustified.
“This is a very disappointing and perplexing development.
“Australian wine is not sold at below market prices and exports are not subsidised.
“Australia will engage fully with the Chinese processes to strongly argue the case that there are no grounds to uphold the claims being made,’’ Birmingham said.
Report says the move against Australian wine follows China’s earlier trade restrictions on Australian beef and barley, and official warnings to Chinese students against studying in Australia.
Relations between Australian and China have become strained after Australia supported democracy in Hong Kong, banned Huawei from Australia’s 5G network, and criticised China’s territorial expansion and militarisation of the South China Sea.
China is Australia’s largest export market, buying 26 per cent of exports, valued at 235 billion Australian dollars, an increase of four per cent over the past 12 months.