More than 11 tons of Australian wines were blocked from entry in China due to what customs authorities cited as using excessive food additives and labeling issues.
The wines were refused entry and flagged by customs officers in Shenzhen, the southern metropolis bordering Hong Kong. This is the latest seizure of Australian wines amid worsened trade spats between the two countries that sank Australian wines’ market in its biggest export market.
The wines seized in Shenzhen weigh close to 11,300 kg, which is about 9,500 bottles given an average bottle of wine weighs about 1.2kg. More than 2000 bottles of wines from Lindsdale Pty Ltd, an OEM supplier in South Australia, and over 7,000 bottles from Bunnamagoo Estate based in New South Wales, owned by Australian pearling company, Paspaley Pearls Properties.
The Lindsdale wines were flagged due to excessive use of food additive, according to the customs list of seized foods and cosmetics products in February, while the Bunnamagoo wines were found to have labelling issues, though it did not specify what the issues are.
In the same list of seized products published by the customs, in addition to the two Australian companies, there’s one more white wine from France’s VIGNERONS CATALANS that was blocked as well, but its quantity is much smaller than the Australian wines at only a combined total of 90kg.
The news just came weeks after Chinese customs blocked around 20,000 liters of Australian wines from entering mainland China, including Penfolds, the popular wine brand owned by Treasury Wine Estates, after China slapped over 212% of temporary tariffs.
Last week, China officially imposed 218.4% tariffs on Australian wine for what Beijing believed to be Australia’s unfair wine dumping that has squeezed domestic wine market after eight months of investigation.
This has promoted strong protest from Australian side, and Canberra has threatened to take China’s tariff hike to WTO, calling the tariff “unjustifiable”.
Australia is China’s biggest supplier and takes up about 40% of market share.