Chinese ambassador says wine tariff review on track

Poppy Johnston |

Chinese Ambassador Xiao Qian has given an update on the review of tariffs placed on Australian wine.
Chinese Ambassador Xiao Qian has given an update on the review of tariffs placed on Australian wine.

The Chinese ambassador says a review of tariffs on Australian wine is on track in a promising sign for local winemakers and growers.

China is reviewing sanctions on wine under a five-month process after the Australian government agreed to suspend a dispute lodged with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) until March 31.

“Currently, Chinese authorities are reviewing and investigating our tariffs on Australian wine and things are moving on the right track, in the right direction,” Chinese Ambassador Xiao Qian told the Australian Financial Review Business Summit on Monday.

During a period of heightened diplomatic tension in 2020, Beijing imposed $20 billion in sanctions on Australian products, including wine.

Sanctions on some products have already been lifted, including tariffs on Australian barley.

On Sunday, Australian Trade Minister Don Farrell said the government was waiting for Beijing to complete the review of wine tariffs and there was “no hold up” with the process.

Speaking at the conference, Mr Xiao also said the suspended death sentence given to imprisoned Australian writer Yang Hengjun may not be carried out, provided no further crimes were committed.

The official said there was “theoretically … a chance he will not be executed”.

Dr Yang was found guilty of espionage charges in China in February after spending five years in prison.

AAP