China wine hope

China wine hope

There is a glimmer of hope for exporting Coonawarra vignerons after China outlined an interim set of recommendations that could lead to the removal of trade barriers on Australian wine.

The State Government has welcomed the announcement out of China, which was described as an interim draft determination that was not a final decision and was subject to change, with the government saying it was a “positive step towards reinstating a strong trading partnership between South Australia’s world-famous wine producers and the Chinese market”.

The interim decision from China’s Ministry of Commerce states the duties on Australian bottled wine are no longer necessary.

In October 2020, at its peak and one month prior to the start of tariffs, China was South Australia’s largest wine export market, with exports valued at $946.5m, accounting for 47.2% of South Australia’s wine exports globally.

For the year ending January 2024, wine exports to China were valued at $2.8m, with a volume of 1.05 million litres.

There has been strong advocacy at both a State and Federal level for the removal of restrictions on wine.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Clare Scriven is currently in China, leading a delegation of wine and other agribusiness representatives.

The delegation will be attending three key events, including two Taste of South Australia Showcases (one in Guangzhou and one in Chengdu) and a South Australian Wine Summit in Chengdu which will provide an opportunity for promotion to distributors, importers, buyers, retailers, and media in China.

This follow’s Premier Peter Malinauskas trade mission in September last year, which was the first visit to China by a South Australian Premier since October 2019.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese met with President Xi Jinping on his trip to China.

Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong and Federal Trade and Tourism Minister Don Farrell have also been busy advocating for Australian producers on trips to Beijing.

Significant progress has been made at both state and federal levels to stabilise the relationship with China, who have already removed trade impediments on a range of Australian products since May last year, including coal, cotton, timber, barley, and oaten hay.

The State Government is progressing strategies to support the SA wine industry which was hit hard by the introduction of tariffs on Australian wine.

The visit to China by the Premier’s CEO delegation late last year demonstrated strong interest from Chinese importers and industry to re-engage directly with South Australian wine exporters.

Earlier this year the government delivered China Market Insights Workshops to almost 200 South Australian wine producers at four events held in Coonawarra, Barossa, Riverland, and the Adelaide Hills.

The workshops provided deep insights into the China market with topics including China’s economic outlook, wine market intelligence, market access and entry, legal considerations, and cultural awareness.

Delivered by the Department for Trade and Investment (DTI) in collaboration with the South Australian Wine Industry Association (SAWIA) and the Department of Primary Industries and Regions, South Australia (PIRSA) the workshops were held in late January and early February to help prepare the industry should tariffs be removed.

The workshops follow a tailored industry briefing delivered by DTI and Showcase SA in October last year, where the state’s wine sector heard first-hand from the representatives who participated in the Premier’s China visit.

Premier Malinauskas said the announcement was a significant and positive step towards reinstating the valued trading partnership between SA winemakers and Chinese consumers.

“Whilst excited for this development, we remain respectful of the Chinese process and do not want to get ahead of ourselves,” he said.

“Our local wine industry took a huge hit in 2020, with widespread impacts across South Australia’s 3250 grape growers and 680 wineries when the tariffs were first imposed on our wine.

“My visit to China in September was an important milestone in strengthening the relationship South Australia enjoys with the region, which continues to be our state’s top export destination for merchandise and is an important partner for our exporters, particularly our wine industry.”

Minister Scriven said the response to “our local drops in this huge import market has been hugely positive”.

“We have a reputation for producing world-class wine and the Chinese market wants to be able to re-engage with our South Australian producers,” she said.

“We know that some wine producers have been doing it tough in our regions, but the interim measures announced today should give the industry hope that we will once again be making wine destined for China.”

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