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Australia Defends Winemakers At WTO

By Sunday 20 June 2021No Comments

The Australian Government will take action in the World Trade Organisation over China’s imposition of anti-dumping duties on Australian wine.

“The decision to commence the dispute resolution process was taken following extensive consultation with Australia’s winemakers,” Federal Trade Minister Dan Tehan said in a joint statement with Agriculture Minister David Littleproud.

The WTO dispute resolution process is available to any WTO member as a means to resolve trade disputes in a respectful manner.

“Australia’s use of the WTO in this matter is consistent with its previous use of the WTO and aligns with our support for the rules-based trading system,” the statement says.

“Australia remains open to engaging directly with China to resolve this issue.

“The Australian Government would like to thank Australia’s winemakers for their constructive engagement on this issue and their continued cooperation.

“The Government will continue to vigorously defend the interests of Australian winemakers using the established system in the WTO to resolve our differences.”

Tony Battaglene, chief executive of Australian Grape & Wine says, “We have been consistent in our position that Australian producers have not dumped wine on the Chinese market, nor received trade-distorting subsidies.

“We believe the Australian Government’s decision to ask the WTO to undertake an independent assessment of the facts is the right course to take.”

“While this process is underway, we’ll keep working with grapegrowers, winemakers and the Australian Government, to diversify our export markets and strengthen relationships as much as possible with all trading partners, including China.”

Meanwhile Dan Tehan says wine sales to non-traditional markets had increased in the March quarter.

“Sales to the Netherlands were up 63 percent to $20 million and sales to South Korea were up 133.6 percent to $13.6 million,” he says.

“Australia’s world-leading winemakers are adapting to challenging trading conditions and it’s positive that our winemakers are diversifying their customer base.

“Our Government’s $72 million Agri-Business Expansion Initiative is supporting winemakers to expand their international markets, access market intelligence and matched grants for government and industry associations to work together on market expansion.

“While tariffs on Australian wine exports into the United Kingdom will be eliminated immediately under the Free Trade Agreement making Australian wines more attractive and competitive.”

Moorilla Winery in Tasmania participated in a virtual wine tasting event organised by Austrade’s office in Taipei along with five other wineries.

Moorilla chief winemaker Conor Van Der Reest says the winery sent its first shipment to Taiwan in February, with another shipment in the order stage and another party seeking samples.

“The Taiwan event has been very good for us. We have sent our first order, another one is in the order stage and another party seeking samples,” Conor says.

Photo: Shingleback.

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