Wine exports to flow

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Lechelle Earl, owner/editor

Wine exports to flow

Limestone Coast wineries have a double reason to celebrate, following news that China has decided to remove wine tariffs.

Late last week it was announced that China had decided to remove all trade barriers on Australian wine, as a result of concerted efforts by both the State and Federal Governments to stabilise the trading relationship between the two nations.

The tariffs, imposed in 2020, crippled Australian wine exports to China, with wineries across the state and including the Limestone Coast impacted, given at the time China was South Australia’s largest wine export market, with exports valued at $946.5m, accounting for 47.2% of SA’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.

Following last week’s announcement, the State Government immediately advised that it would provide a $1.85m China Re-Engagement Support Package for South Australian wine exporters and grape growers.

The support package, to be rolled out over the next two years to June 2026, will provide SA’s wine sector with in-market insights and capability building to effectively re-engage with the China market in a risk-managed manner.

It will help to re-position South Australia as a market leader in China and support the broader stabilisation of the Australia-China trade and economic relationship.

The September visit to China by the Premier and a delegation of food, wine and agribusiness CEOs demonstrated strong interest from Chinese importers and industry to re-engage directly with South Australian wine exporters.

This was reinforced at the recent Taste of South Australia events in China, attended by Minister for Primary Industries Clare Scriven.

The China Re-Engagement Support Package was developed 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 $1.85m support package comprises $600,000 for two-way market activation and immersion, $500,000 towards promotional marketing and communication campaigns, $400,000 towards a wine export advisor, $250,000 for technical cooperation and $100,000 for exporter Capability Building.

To support two-way market activation and immersion, DTI and its partners will facilitate opportunities for SA wine exporters to attend key in-market industry events in China in 2024 and 2025, as well as coordinate trade familiarisation visits for leading Chinese wine importers to experience South Australia’s wine regions.

South Australia’s world-class wine offering will be promoted to trade and high-end consumers in China through multi-platform marketing and communication campaigns aligned to peak consumption periods including key trade events and celebrations.

DTI will engage a Shanghai-based Wine Export Adviser to support market activation and immersion programs over the next two years with in-depth knowledge and connections within China’s wine sector.

Both China and South Australia share a long history of technical, scientific and research exchange in the wine sector.

Technical cooperation activities will be pursued to deepen this collaboration.

Market insight workshops will be delivered over the next two years to help build exporter capability and provide risk management advice.

In preparation for the removal of the tariffs, the government delivered China Market Insights Workshops to almost 200 South Australian wine industry businesses at four events held in Coonawarra, Barossa, Riverland and the Adelaide Hills in late January and early February.

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

In conjunction with discussions with the Premier, the Governor of South Australia Her Excellency, the Honourable Frances Adamson AC, will travel to China in April to seize the momentum and help further the relationship.

Her Excellency worked in Hong Kong during the early years of China’s reform and opening, headed the Australian Commerce and Industry Office in Taipei and later served as Australia’s Ambassador to China.

Premier Malinauskas welcomed the developments, citing the tariff removal as “an exciting day for South Australia”.

“I am delighted to announce the $1.85m China Re-Engagement Support Package for our important wine sector,” he said.

“This support package will help prepare our wine markets to re-enter the China market, with opportunities to renew partnerships with Chinese industry and gain insights into China’s wine market and consumer trends.

“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.

“Upon return from China, I sought to immediately enact plans for this support package, to ensure our producers are in the best possible position to capitalise following the removal of trade barriers.”

Minister Scriven said South Australians were “rightly proud of our world-class wineries and grape producers”.

“This additional support package to industry will importantly assist our growers as they navigate a strategic re-entry into the China market,” she said.

“I am pleased the State Government worked with SAWIA to deliver a series of workshops for the wine industry right across the state. These China Market Insights Workshops covered topics including market conditions, change in consumers’ preferences, China wine industry preferences and distribution channels, cultural awareness and many others.

“The package also includes support for increased mutually beneficial technical cooperation between PIRSA and the Shandong Government which could include viticulture, winemaking, agricultural technology, climate adaptation, no/low alcohol wine technology, traceability, sustainability, and other fields.”

South Australian Wine Industry Association chief executive Inca Lee said the support package was “warmly welcomed by industry”.

“We also thank the Premier for his foresight in leading a delegation to China in late 2023 in support of the Australian Government’s ongoing efforts to strengthen Australia’s relationship with China,” she said.

“These collective efforts will result in South Australian wine companies once again being able to share our wines with Chinese consumers.”

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