China hits Australian wine with second probe as tensions mount

BEIJING (BLOOMBERG) – Australia’s winemakers have been hit by a second Chinese government probe, as trade tensions between the countries escalate.

China has started an anti-subsidy probe into wines in containers holding 2 litres or less from Australia, according to a statement on the Ministry of Commerce website.

The announcement comes less than two weeks after China, the biggest international buyer of Australian wine, said it had started an anti-dumping investigation into the same product.

Ties between the two trading partners have increasingly frayed in recent years.

In addition to banning Huawei Technologies Co from participating in Australia’s 5G network, Australia’s push for an independent inquiry into the origins of the Covid-19 outbreak sparked a Chinese backlash.

China halted some beef imports earlier this year, with a fifth meatworks banned from shipping product there just last week.

It also put tariffs of more than 80 per cent on Australia’s barley exports in May after the conclusion of earlier anti-dumping and anti-subsidy probes.

In addition, the Chinese ambassador to Canberra said in April that Chinese consumers might choose to boycott the nation’s exports because of strained relations, a comment that was seen as a threat in Australia.

The wine subsidy probe is due to end by Aug 31, 2021 and can be extended to Feb 28, 2022, according to the statement.

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