China’s punishing anti-dumping tariffs on Australian wine delivered a huge blow to the value of local exports last year, which sunk 30 per cent to $2.03 billion.
Wine Australia’s latest export report, released on Thursday, also showed Australian wine exports fell 17 per cent in volume to 619 million litres in the 12 months to December 2021.
The tariffs — imposed in the midst of an ongoing trade war between Canberra and Beijing — hit a range of bottled wine including Treasury Wine Estates brands such as Penfolds, Wolf Blass and Lindeman’s.
Almost $1b was wiped off the value of Australian wine exports to mainland China, which plunged 97 per cent to just $29m and 93 per cent in volume to 6.4 million litres compared to the 2020 calendar year.
The Middle Kingdom imposed devastating anti-dumping tariffs of between 116 and 220 per cent in August 2020. The report represents the first full 12-month period since they were enforced.
However, there was some upside with Australian wine exports to other Asian nations picking up — local wine exports to Singapore lifted 108 per cent to $166m, while South Korea was up 74 per cent to $47m and Taiwan up 65 per cent to $31m.
Wine Australia general manager corporate affairs and regulation Rachel Triggs said exports excluding mainland China increased 7 per cent in value to $2b, marking the first time these exports have cracked $2b for a calendar year since 2009.
The report also found exports valued at above $10 per litre free on board jumped in value by 49 per cent when excluding mainland China, giving positive signs that demand for products which would previously have been exported to China is emerging in other markets.
“The pandemic is still disrupting the on-trade, the global freight crisis is continuing to cause shipping delays and increased freight costs, and while there was export growth to many destinations, it will take time to offset the loss in trade to mainland China,” Ms Triggs said.
“This is not something that will happen overnight, nor within a year. But the Australian wine sector is resilient, and there are early signs that hard work in expanding and diversifying markets is paying off.”