Beijing / Sydney, Australia, Nov 27 (efe-epa).- China will impose tariffs of up to 212.1 percent on imports of Australian wine starting Saturday as part of temporary measures against alleged unfair competition, or “dumping,” according to the country’s Commerce Ministry.
In a statement published Friday on its website, the Chinese Commerce Ministry said an investigation into this alleged sale at a loss by Australian exporters has preliminarily concluded that “there is unfair competition in imported wines from Australia.”
According to the source, “there is a causal relationship between selling at a loss and material damage (in the local industry), and it has been decided to implement temporary measures against unfair competition on the aforementioned products” in the form of tariffs ranging from 107.1 percent to 212.1 percent.
The ministry said the investigation was requested by the local wine industry and began in August.
Australian Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said he expressed “his deep disappointment” at the decision, adding he “categorically rejects” that the oceanic country subsidizes wine production.
“(China’s) decision is a very worrying measure and one that Australia will fight vigorously … There is no basis or evidence to support these allegations,” Littleproud said in a statement.
The imposition of tariffs against Australian wine is one more step in the tax policy that the country has been developing for months against the products of the oceanic nation.
In addition to wine, Beijing has already raised import taxes on Australian barley for the same reasons, and Canberra is investigating whether there is also an alleged boycott by China of various exports, including coal, lobster or copper.
Australia, for its part, has in recent years put in place a series of laws and measures to prevent foreign political meddling, not to mention China directly, which has angered Beijing.
China is Australia’s main trading partner, whose bilateral exchange was AUD235,000 million ($153,591 million) in the financial year 2018-2019.
The relationship between the two countries has been deteriorating due to issues such as China’s militarization or Australia’s approval of laws against interference and foreign espionage, after uncovering cases of Chinese donations to politicians and cyberattacks to government agencies and universities attributed to Beijing.
In September, Australia evacuated the last two accredited Australian media correspondents remaining in China fearing they would be detained, after being questioned by Home Office officials. EFE-EPA