Opening Up? The State of Australian Investment in China and the Uncertain Future of Economic Ties

Business Chief Predicts China is on the Verge of Removing Tariffs on Australian Wine

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi recently emphasized during a meeting with Australian business leaders that China is “opening up” to foreign investment. The Australia China Business Council, a lobby group, hosted the meeting and expressed optimism that heavy tariffs on Australian wine imports will soon be lifted.

David Olsson, the National President of the group, noted in an interview with Bloomberg at the Boao Forum in China that while Australian businesses value the Chinese market, they are concerned about unpredictability and uncertainty, especially when it comes to long-term investments. Despite progress in economic ties between Australia and China since May 2022, the heaviest remaining sanctions are on Australian wine exports.

Tariffs have reached as high as 218%, but the Australian government remains optimistic that they will be removed by the end of March. Olsson expressed hope that a significant amount of Australian wine will re-enter the Chinese market once tariffs are lifted, although not all of it will return. Many producers are also looking to diversify and explore other markets to reduce their dependence on China.

The overall expectation is that the relationship between Australia and China will remain complex, with ongoing geopolitical tensions shaping their economic interactions.

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