At least one Chinese merchant has already reported holding back a shipment of Napa wine following China's imposition of tariffs in a trade war with the US, as traders on both sides hope for a swift resolution. Reporting by Emily Xie in Shanghai and Chris Mercer in London.
China imposed an extra 15% tariff on US wine imports from 2 April, as part of punitive measures against more than 100 American-made products in retaliation for president Trump signing restrictions on Chinese steel shipments.
‘These tariffs put our products at a price disadvantage and we urge swift resolution of this issue before long-term disruptions are felt,’ said Robert Koch, the president and CEO of the California Wine Institute.
Tariffs on US wine imports in China have risen from 48.2% to 67.7%, the Institute said.
That’s particularly galling at a time when Australia is moving towards tariff-free access to China, set to happen in 2019, and Chile and New Zealand already have the benefits of free-trade deals there.
‘Recently, we called off a 40-foot shipping container [of wine] from Napa Valley,’ said Qiang Huang, sales director of Napa Reserve Fine Wines Ltd, a leading supplier of California wines in China.
‘We also have 500 cases of undeclared wines in the supervision warehouse in the Shanghai bonded [free trade] zone,’ Qiang Huang told Decanter.com. ‘The tariff rate adjustment will directly affect this batch of wines.
‘Since this trade war was caused by the political contest between China and the United States, as a wine importer, there is really little we can do except wait for a miracle.’
The hope is that it is only a short-term dispute, Qiang Huang added. ‘I am more optimistic about the [longer term] future prospects of American Napa Valley fine wines in the Chinese market.’