China – April 2021

China’s Ministry of Commerce (MofCom) made its final determinations on the Countervailing Duties Investigation and the Anti-Dumping Investigation on 26 March 2021.

The final decisions uphold the preliminary findings for both investigations (dumping, subsidisation, injury to domestic industry) and imposed countervailing duties of 6.3–6.4 per cent (varying by company), and anti-dumping tariffs for:

  • Treasury Wine Estates of 175.6 per cent
  • Casella Wine of 170.9 per cent
  • Australia Swan Vintage of 116.2 per cent
  • 21 other wineries and exporters, including Pernod Ricard of 167.1 per cent, and
  • ‘all other’ exporters of 218.4 per cent.

The tariffs are marginally higher than the preliminary duties and apply for five years from 28 March 2021.

The reason there are differential tariffs is that Treasury Wine Estates, Casella Wines and Australian Swan Vintage were selected for sampling  for the anti-dumping case and these three companies, plus Pernod-Ricard were also sampled for the subsidies investigation. These companies were then allocated tariffs on the information supplied for the anti-dumping case. The 21 companies (including Pernod-Ricard) were assessed for dumping duties based on an average of the sampled companies as there were deemed cooperative (that is, they registered for the investigations and provided detailed information for the sampling process). All other exporters were deemed uncooperative and received a higher rate.

The tariffs apply to imported wine in containers of 2l or less. They do not apply to bulk wine, wine in containers greater then 2l, sparkling wine, fortified wine or other wine products. However, in October 2020, it was widely reported that imports of Australian wine, lobsters, sugar, coal, copper, wheat and timber would not be processed through Chinese ports after Friday 6 November. Since that date, we have seen many shipments subjected to additional testing, many rejections for the presence of substances not used in production of Australian wine, and extreme slowness in customs clearance procedures. This has led to a marked reduction in the shipments of Australian wine to China of these categories. In addition, even bottled wine on which exporters are willing to pay the duties have net with similar slow clearance procedures.

Australian Grape & Wine provided submissions through every step of the process and believe that there is no justification for the findings. We are now looking at options to seek removal of China’s anti-dumping (AD) and countervailing duties (CVD) on Australian bottled wine imports. Government advice on Chinese domestic and international pathways for appealing China’s are:

  • Bilateral consultations
  • Domestic administrative review in China
  • Domestic (judicial) court action in China
  • Dispute action under ChAFTA
  • WTO committee processes
  • ‘Changed circumstances’ review under Chinese AD/CVD processes (or Interim Reviews)
  • WTO dispute action

A decision will be made on these next steps shortly.

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