Wine and lamb toast new China trade deal

The Western Star - - RURAL WEEKLY - Alex Sin­not

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.

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