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China lifts penalties on Australian wine after more than three devastating years

Hong Kong CNN —

China has announced it is lifting punishing tariffs on Australian wines more than three years after imposing penalties that devastated the industry and were a major point of friction between the trading partners.

China’s Ministry of Commerce on Thursday said that “in view of the changes in the wine market conditions in China,” it was “no longer necessary to impose anti-dumping duties and countervailing duties on imported wines originating from Australia.”

The measure would come into effect on Friday, two days before the end of a five-month review period agreed on by Canberra and Beijing that saw Australia suspend a dispute on the issue at the World Trade Organization for that period.

The decision scraps duties as high as 218% on Australian wine exports to China, its largest overseas market once worth more than 1 billion Australian dollars ($653 million).

The Australian government said it welcomed Beijing’s decision “which comes at a critical time for the Australian wine industry.”

“Since 2020, China’s duties on Australian wine effectively made it unviable for Australian producers to export bottled wine to that market,” the statement read. “We acknowledge and thank Australian grape growers and wine producers for their fortitude and support during a challenging period.”

The wine tariffs were part of a raft of trade curbs Beijing slapped on key Australian exports starting in 2020 as punishment for political grievances.

Their removal comes amid a thaw in China-Australia relations that’s seen Chinese authorities steadily roll back a number of those barriers including on barley, timber, and coal.

“The Australian Government’s approach is to cooperate with China where we can, disagree where we must and