‘Persevere and persist’: Trade minister aims to ease China tariffs

Australia’s Trade Minister Don Farrell has vowed to persevere with Chinese counterparts in a bid to get billions of dollars worth of trade restrictions removed from Australian products.

May 15, 2023, updated May 15, 2023
Trade Minister Don Farrell with Chinese Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao in Beijing. Photo: Michael Godfrey/DFAT via AP

Trade Minister Don Farrell with Chinese Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao in Beijing. Photo: Michael Godfrey/DFAT via AP

Following his return from Beijing where he met with Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao, Farrell said he was still optimistic of restrictions on items such as barley, wine and lobsters being removed.

The Chinese government declared in November 2020 that it would impose duties on Australian wine of between 107 and 212 per cent following an “anti-dumping” inquiry announced as part of a suite of measures in past months targeting Australian exports.

Before the shock decision, China had been Australia’s largest wine export market with $1.2 billion worth shipped in the 2019/20 financial year. South Australia is responsible for 50 per cent of Australian wine production.

In the first full year after China imposed crippling tariffs on Australian products, Australia’s wine exports plummeted by 30 per cent or $860 million, with China dropping from first to 14th place as a consumer and leaving producers scrambling to find new markets.

Australian barley has also effectively been blocked from China after an 80 per cent tariff was imposed.

Despite the in-person meetings in China, Farrell said it would take time for trade relations to return to normal.

“My objective in this process is to simply persevere and persist, so that at the end of the day, all of the trade impediments are removed,” he said on Monday.

“The problems aren’t solved overnight … we want Australian food and wine producers to get their products back into China and we want the Chinese consumers to have the advantage of the wonderful Australian product.”

In a sign of improving relations between the two countries, China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang is set to visit Australia in coming months. The trip has yet to be formally announced by Beijing.

InDaily in your inbox. The best local news every workday at lunch time.
By signing up, you agree to our User Agreement andPrivacy Policy & Cookie Statement. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Farrell described talks with China during his visit as an important step forward to stabilising the relationship, although he said it was unlikely the trade restrictions would disappear immediately.

“This was the first in-person meeting between the Australian and the Chinese trade ministers since 2019, and I thought it was a pretty warn and constructive, and frankly, a candid discussion,” he said.

“If things go to plan, there’ll be a decision by the Chinese government. We’re hopeful that that decision will remove those tariffs.”

-with AAP

Local News Matters
Copyright © 2024 InDaily.
All rights reserved.