China’s trade war against Australia probably extends to edible grapes

The Australian government is investigating why China has postponed Australian edible grape imports for the past 20 days, and Federal Trade Minister Dan Tehan said the industry has become the latest victim of Australia’s economic coercion. He said he would not rush to conclude.

“We are trying to figure out the cause of the stagnation,” Taehan told ABC Thursday.

“About 80 percent of edible grape exports seem to be seamless. Some problems seem to be in the last 20 percent,” he said.

“I’ve been discussing with the industry what they’re seeing and what they’re hearing, and we also have our post talking to Chinese officials about this.”

The market has an annual trade value of $ 300 million ($ 232 million) with China.

Australian producers typically send up to 300 containers of grapes to China each week in April and May, but this year only 125 containers enter China each week.

Merlot grapes
China accounts for more than 40% of Australia’s total exports of edible grapes (Von wjarek / Shutterstock)

According to the Australian Table Grape Association (ATGA), no denials have been recorded so far, but the containers have been cleared after a long delay, the grapes have rotted and lost value at $ 40,000 per container. There is likely to be.

“I think this protocol requires only 40 boxes to be inspected. I think up to 200 boxes have been inspected, which is causing a significant delay,” said ATGA CEO. One Jeff Scott told The Epoch Times.

Scott said the industry is currently working with the Minister of Trade. He also hopes that the Australian Embassy and the Beijing Agricultural Council will be able to discuss with Beijing authorities.

When asked about other potential markets for Australian edible grapes other than China, which account for more than 40% of total exports, the CEO said the industry does not have many options.

“Australian grapes are the largest export of high value fresh fruits and we send many products to many other countries. Therefore, we have the potential to sell other grapes to other countries. Is limited, “Scott said.

Scott also warned that it would be difficult to diversify the market.

“We are probably working on market access to one or two countries,” he said.

But he said it would take a long time.

“Opportunities for diversification of edible grapes are very limited,” Scott said.

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