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Riverland Wine welcomes Chinese removal of Chinese tariffs

28 March 2024

Riverland Wine has welcomed China’s decision to remove import duties on wine immediately, in the hope that it will re-open what was once Australia’s largest export market.

Riverland Wine CEO Lyndall Rowe said the tariffs, which were formally introduced in March 2021, had particularly impacted the region’s growers and producers, with many struggling to find buyers for significant volumes of red wine varieties.

Over the past three years, exports to China have fallen from close to $1 billion to less than $3 million, with Riverland growers working to manage an over-supply, along with low prices for grapes, the popularity of traditional red wine varieties falling and other challenges.

Ms Rowe thanked the Federal and South Australian governments for their work to stabilise Australia’s trading relationship with China, which has contributed to the progressive easing of tariffs on Australian goods, now including wine.

“The export tariffs were catastrophic for our industry, and restoring the Chinese market will make a significant difference for our growers and producers who have struggled to find buyers, battled to sell their grapes for a reasonable price and have had to hold excess volumes of wine in tanks,” Ms Rowe said.

“This is a positive step forward for our Riverland growers, and we are looking forward to rebuilding relationships with Chinese buyers and restoring the market over the coming months and potentially years.

“However, we are also conscious of the fact that this will take time and it won’t solve the challenges our Riverland growers face in the short term. Market diversification is essential, which is why we are working to build the reputation of the Riverland as a region in Europe and in other markets.”

Ms Rowe said work would continue on the Riverland Wine Blueprint Implementation Plan, which has seen positive developments including additional funding for Farm Household Assistance grants in recent days.

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