China on Friday announced its plan to impose provisional anti-dumping measures, in the form of deposits, on wine imported from Australia. The deposit will range from 107.1 to 212.1 percent, starting Saturday.
According to a preliminary ruling of the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), significant wine dumping had occurred and those imports had caused substantial damage to Chinese producers. The recent decision came after an investigation which started in August.
China is Australia's number one wine-export market by value. Despite the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, China imported AU$3 billion ($2.2 billion) worth of Aussie wine in the first three quarters, up 4 percent year-on-year, reported Australia's public broadcaster ABC, citing industrial reports.
Australia's wine exports to China have been surging since 2019 after the free-trade agreement took effect earlier that year, which allowed Australian wines to be imported into China without any tariffs.
The anti-dumping measures will hit Australia's wine exports to China hard, said a Chinese wine importer named Chen Wei.
"With this anti-dumping measure taking effect, we have to change our suppliers to those from other countries," Chen told the Global Times on Friday.
"Currently we are talking with suppliers from Europe and South America, such as Spain and Chile," he said, adding that he had actually found their wines to be cheaper than those from Australia.
Chen bears no losses this year but concerns that changing suppliers will need some time and he may lose some previous customers.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said in August, during a press conference responding to inquiry about the investigation, that the probe is normal and was initiated at the request of domestic winemakers, and the investigation will be conducted in a fair and impartial manner.
With great economic complementarities, China has been Australia's largest trade partner. However, Canberra has been recklessly undermining bilateral relations with China from diplomatic to economic areas, such as banning Chinese tech company Huawei from participating in building the nation's 5G network, based on groundless excuses and heightening scrutiny on Chinese investments, casting a shadow on bilateral exchanges.