China targets Aussie wine in trade dispute

China has launched an anti-dumping investigation into Australian wine as diplomatic relations between the two nations continue to sour.

The inquiry will look into whether Australian winemakers dumped cheap bottles of wine into China over a five-year period, drowning out local producers.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has flatly rejected the dumping allegations.

He has committed to working closely with industry figures to fight the claims.

“Australia produces some of the best quality and most popular wine in the world,” Mr Littleproud said on Tuesday.

“That reputation has been recognised by Chinese consumers who have helped make China our largest export market with $1.1 billion exported in 2019/20.”

China is the top market for Australian wine exports and the country’s largest trading partner.

But the relationship has been heavily strained by disputes over coronavirus, territorial claims in the South China Sea, Beijing’s security crackdown on Hong Kong, and the decision to ban Huawei from Australia’s 5G network.

China recently imposed tariffs on Australian barley, suspended some beef imports and warned students and tourists it was not safe to travel to Australia because of allegations of racism.

Chinese state media has previously warned Australian wine could be targeted in the rolling diplomatic dispute.

The anti-dumping investigation is expected to run for a year.

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