Prime Minister Scott Morrison has declared Australia will never trade away its sovereignty in the face of Beijings latest trade-related salvo, this time targeting the valuable wine sector.
The Chinese Ministry of Commerce announced on Aug. 18 it was launching an investigation into anti-dumping allegations against Australian wine exporters to China.
The claims allege Australian winemakers are deliberately selling wine into the country at below-the-market prices, at times even below production cost, effectively “dumping” the product into China to drown out local winemakers.
The investigation will also examine whether wine production is being subsidised by the government, which in certain cases, can allow exporters to easily undercut competitors.
The investigation could lead to more tariffs being implemented on Australian exports to China.
Prime Minister Morrison has dismissed the allegations telling reporters on Aug. 19, “We totally dont accept any suggestion that there has been any dumping of Australian wine in China whatsoever.”
“There is no basis against the claims made against the Australian wine industry or subsidies or things of that nature,” he added.
“We will never trade away our sovereignty in Australia on any issue,” Morrison said. “We will be consistent, clear, and respectful and we will get on with the business.”
Morrison also made the point that Australian wines had the second-highest average price in China in the first half of 2020, following New Zealand wines.
In fact, Australian wine brands such as Penfolds, are highly regarded by Chinese consumers and tourist. Penfolds is so popular it has had to contend with a copycat brand called Benfords.
Trade Minister Simon Birmingham on Aug. 18 called the dumping investigation “perplexing.”
“Australias wine producers have worked hard for years to establish themselves with a reputation for the highest of quality and for being internationally competitive based on their excellence,” he said.
Birmingham said the government would defend against the claims and work towards preventing potential tariffs or duties being imposed on the sector.
The barley industry in May was hit with 80 percent worth of tariffs, following the Ministry of Commerces “findings” into anti-dumping allegations against Australian barley exporters.
China is currently Australias largest wine export market, accounting for 37 percent of exports valued at over $1 billion (US $792 million) annually.
The wine investigation is the latest Beijing-instigated action targeting key economic trading relationships between China and Australia.
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud told Sky News on Aug. 19 that all options were on the tRead More – Source