Dan Tehan: The Chinese Government's Ministry of Commerce posted overnight on its website the findings of its final determination on the countervailing investigation and anti-dumping investigation into Australian wine. What that means is that Australian wine will be facing tariffs of between 116 and 218 per cent for the next five years. This decision which has been taken by the Chinese Government is extremely disappointing and completely unjustifiable. I've spoken to the Australian wine industry this morning and we will be looking at next steps, and those next steps will include looking at taking this matter to the World Trade Organization. The Australian wine industry is also determined to work very closely with the Australian Government to make sure that we seek to explore other markets. Chinese consumers have shown quite clearly a great liking for Australian wine, and we're very confident that consumers right around the world will also want to appreciate the great product that Australian winemakers and Australian grape growers produce. So, we are absolutely determined to work together to find new markets for Australian wine, so that we can do everything we can to counter these steps that have been taken by the Chinese Government.
Journalist: How disappointing is it, that it's come to this?
Tehan: Oh look, this is extremely disappointing and it's completely unjustifiable, and that's why we'll look to take all the steps that we possibly can to make sure that we can get these tariffs reversed. Tariffs of 116 to 218 per cent mean that it's basically impossible for Australian wine to be competitive in the Chinese market. Terribly disappointing for Chinese consumers and for the Australian wine industry.
Journalist: Have you spoken to our, your representatives in China?
Tehan: No, I haven't spoken to our, my ministerial counterpart in China. I wrote to him in January, expressed my desire to work constructively with him, pointing out the complementarity between our two economies and how our trading relationship has led to millions and millions of people being lifted out of poverty in China and benefiting economic growth in Australia. And, that offer still stands for us to be able to sit down and work through these disputes.
Journalist: What does this say about our relationship with China?
Tehan: Look, obviously, these trade disputes are very difficult for us to be able to navigate at this time. We want to have a good working relationship with the Chinese Government. We want to be able to work through these disputes. But, as I've said, steps taken like this by the Chinese Government are extremely disappointing, and we'll take all steps we can to try and reverse them.
Journalist: What's been the feedback from the wine association, in terms of, is it viable for them as an export moving forward?
Tehan: So, the Australian wine industry have worked very closely with the Government to try and put a very strong case as to why these tariffs shouldn't be put in place, and I thank them for the way that they've worked with the Government. I spoke with the wine industry again this morning. They are, like the Government, extremely disappointed by this decision. But, they've made it very clear, and as the Government has, that while these decisions are being taken, we will get on with it, we will explore new markets. We know that we produce the best wine in the world, and we're going to look for new markets to sell this wine into.
Journalist: How is it possible for us to have a comprehensive trade relationship with China if they do just slap tariffs on our goods for up to five years?
Tehan: Well, these decisions which have been taken by the Chinese Government are disappointing, and it does make it hard for us to continue to work with the Chinese Government to ensure the complementarity between our two economies means that our economic relationship will continue to grow. And, we've got to always remember that that economic relationship between China and Australia has helped Chinese people, it's helped the Australian people, it's helped both our economies grow, and we want to seek to restore relations so that that complementarity between our two economies will continue to grow.
Great, thanks very much.
- DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555