Winemakers cheer China decision, but keen to grow in other markets

“People are excited about the opportunity China provides but most businesses are trying to build markets in South-East Asia, or rebuilding the United States and United Kingdom markets,” McLean said.

Prior to 2020, exports to China made up almost half the total exports worldwide, but the industry has not been able to increase its market share in other countries to make up for that significant loss.

Australian wine in show in Shanghai before Beijing’s restrictions. China announced those tariffs would be removed on Friday.Credit: AP

Australian wine exports declined by 2 per cent in value to $1.9 billion in 2023, according to Wine Australia.

The top five markets were the United States (19 per cent of total export value), which was down 7 per cent to $364 million; the United Kingdom (19 per cent), which was down 3 per cent; Hong Kong (15 per cent), which was up 74 per cent to $290 million; Canada (8 per cent), which was down 24 per cent to $143 million, and Singapore (7 per cent), which was up 1 per cent to $133 million.


Wine Australia chief executive Martin Cole said wine exports to China had fallen by two-thirds in the past few years, but he was confident Chinese excitement of Australian wine re-entering into the country would expand the market.

“We’ve had anecdotal feedback from importers in China that they held off importing wine from other countries in anticipation of Australian wine being available again,” Cole said.

“Going back into China will be important but we can’t lose our focus on having a diverse market. It’s very important we go into that with our eyes wide open.”

Australian Vintage chief executive Craig Garvin welcomed Beijing’s decision.

“The removal of tariffs will be a significant benefit for the Australian wine export industry and Australian Vintage,” he said. “We have strong partnerships in China and are excited to be working with them. We look forward to our wines being back in the hands of Chinese consumers.”

China introduced tariffs of between 107 and 212 per cent in 2020, following multiple diplomatic disputes between Canberra and Beijing over human rights, national security and COVID-19,

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce accused Australian winemakers of dumping wine in the Chinese market at cheaper prices, forcing out competition from local vineyards. The allegations were rejected by Australian exporters and the government.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Thursday welcomed Beijing’s decision, saying: “The re-entry of Australian bottled wine into the Chinese market will benefit both Australian producers and Chinese consumers.”

With Eryk Bagshaw

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  • Source of information and images “brisbanetimes”

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