On 5 August 2023, China announced it would remove the 80 per cent duties on Australian barley which were first introduced in May 2020 in relation to dumping of Australian barley. Australia initiated a World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute in December 2022 which was then suspended in April 2023 in order for China to conduct an internal review of the imposed tariffs. Following the review China’s Ministry of Commerce ruled that, “in view of the changes in the market situation of barley in China, it is no longer necessary to continue to impose anti-dumping duties and countervailing duties on the imported barley originating in Australia.”
This is a positive outcome for all concerned and provides clear positive signs of the continuing improvement in the Australia China relations moving forward.
For many this has led to the question of what this might mean for Australian wine, having had its own duties of up to 218.4 per cent applied by China in March 2021 and subsequently initiating a WTO dispute in June 2021.
Australian Grape & Wine supported Australia to initiate the WTO dispute as it provided an opportunity for an off-ramp for negotiation when relations began to improve. This is exactly what has happened with the barley WTO dispute, and we are hopeful that this model can provide a template for the resolution of the imposed duties on Australian bottled wine to China.
The wine WTO dispute process is around six months behind the barley WTO dispute and with the last WTO update confirming that the dispute panel “did not expect to issue its final report to the parties before mid-2023.”
While the barley outcome is positive news which could present a template for wine, there are no guarantees, and for this to materialise we need to ensure we continue to engage positively and in a measured strategic manner.