Wine and lamb toast new China trade deal
AUSTRALIAN frozen lamb and bottled wine now have a competitive edge in the Chinese market, with more tariffs eliminated.
Federal Trade Minister Simon Birmingham trumpeted the latest round of tariff cuts under the bilateral Chinese and South Korean free-trade deals, which came into effect on January 1.
He said more than 5000 Australian products were now tariff-free into the world’s second-largest economy.
The opening of SinoAustralian trade channels comes as American president Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping ratcheted up protectionist rhetoric in what analysts fear will become a trade war.
“Tariffs on Australian bottled wine exports to China have now been eliminated, unlocking further opportunities for our winemakers,” Senator Birmingham said.
“While tariffs on a range of other exports including rock lobsters, shampoo, tomato sauce and cherries (have also been lifted).”
Winemakers’ Federation of Australia chief executive Tony Battaglene said Australia was second only to France in the Chinese bottled wine market.
“On the latest figures, France roughly has a 30% share while Australia is about 24% of sales in China,” he said .
“That’s only going to grow further with these tariff cuts while our main competitors are still facing tariffs of 16 or so per cent. We’ve seen growth of 40–50% in (Australian bottle) sales year-on-year. That type of growth is obviously not going to last forever but the current trade tensions with America certainly will assist with Australian sales in 2019.”
Senator Birmingham noted the latest round of tariff cuts were the fifth under the China–Australia Free Trade Agreement and the sixth under the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement.