AUSSIE WINE BODY: NO CLEARANCE SUCCESS REPORTED IN CHINA SINCE UNOFFICIAL BAN
By Siulan Law Mathews DipWSET
Credit: Frank Mckenna/Unsplash
Australia’s wine exports to China have effectively been halted with no exporters reporting success in customs clearance since 6 November when an unofficial ban was believed to have taken effect, according to wine trade body Australian Grape and Wine (AGAW).
This is a reliable sign that the unwritten and unofficial ban on seven Australian products including wines did go ahead as reported.
Yet over the weekend, Australia joined China, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and the ten members of ASEAN, including Indonesia and Vietnam to sign the largest trade deal in history.
AGAW chief executive Tony Battaglene told ABC News that his organisation had asked exporters if any shipments had cleared China's customs since the unofficial 6 November deadline, but so far no exporter had reported success.
"We know there's been no official confirmation of a ban, but we have heard that shipments have been subject to increased testing, they are subject to increased scrutiny of documents and it's definitely slowing any clearance of customs," Battaglene told ABC News.
"So we actually haven't heard of any shipments that have yet been cleared through the customs. We still don't know if every shipment has been held up or whether it's just some shipments having extra scrutiny, so we're still in the position of not knowing a lot of facts," he added
Battaglene estimated more than half of all wine exports to China had not left Australian shores due to growing uncertainty in the industry.
"We're talking about a significant disruption particularly at a time that is our maximum export time leading up to Chinese New Year," Battaglene said.
Battaglene also said winemakers had experienced similar delays at China's ports in 2018, and hoped there would be a similar result for exporters affected by the latest round of delays.
Australian wine exporters have been treading on thin ice in China since the two countries were caught in trade tension over Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s earlier call for an investigation on China on the origin of the coronavirus.
China’s Ministry of Commerce announced anti-dumping investigation into Australian wine imports on 17 August, it later added an anti-subsidies investigation.
The investigations will last for 12 months, three Australian wineries including Treasury Wine Estates are taking part in lengthy questionnaires as part of the probe. Deadline for submission of the the finished questionnaires is 16 November.
More than 2,400 Australian exporters sold wine to China last year, many are expecting punitive tariffs as high as 200% due to the investigations.
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