China’s Ambassador to Australia Xiao Qian.
A media appearance by the Chinese ambassador has fueled hopes over trade barriers. Image by Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS
  • politics

Australian wine could ‘very soon’ flow into China: PM


January 17, 2024

Australian wine could return to China’s store shelves “very soon”, the prime minister says, with a review on trade tariffs set to conclude in March.

Speaking from one of Australia’s most iconic wine states, Anthony Albanese said allowing wine to flow into China would be in the best interests of both parties.

“I expect a resolution that will allow for wine to be back into China very soon,” he told reporters in Adelaide on Wednesday.

“It’s in Australia’s interest, but it’s also in China’s interests.

“You know why? Because it’s bloody good wine, it’s a good product, Australia produces good products at good prices, and it is into the world’s interests to receive them.”

Mr Albanese became the first Australian prime minister to set foot on Chinese soil in seven years, during a visit last November.

Though the tariffs were a topic of discussion, Chinese trade restrictions remain in place on Australian wine, beef and lobster.

The prime minister also took the opportunity to congratulate Taiwan’s ruling pro-democracy party for its successful election campaign while maintaining the government’s recognition of the one-China policy.

“We don’t seek to be defined (in our) relationship with China, by our differences. We’ll cooperate where we can, disagree where we must but engage in our national interest,” he said.

“In Taiwan, there’s been no change in the regime there – the political party that was in power is still in power – and our position has not changed.

“We congratulate the new leadership transition that has occurred through a democratic process and we respect democratic processes while maintaining our clear position.”

This comes as China’s ambassador to Australia made his first public remarks of the new year in a rare press conference.

Ambassador Xiao Qian has used previous addresses to spruik increased co-operation and announce easing trade barriers.

Xiao Qian
 The Chinese ambassador to Australia Xiao Qian will speak to the media for the first time in 2024. Image by Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS 

In 2023 for example, Mr Xiao announced the dropping of trade barriers against Australian timber, with officials in Canberra given little notice about the announcement.

Experts will be looking to the speech for indicators of Australia’s evolving relationship with Beijing.