20 Dec 2020

Australian export sectors facing challenges in international trade

Australian export sectors facing challenges in international trade

The trade between China and Australia has increased substantially over the last decade. China is currently Australia’s largest trade partner and export market. From 2018 to 2019, China absorbed around 33% of Australia’s exports totaling about AUD$153 billion. However, the value of Australian exports to China and Australia might diminish in future as certain Australian exports and sectors are likely to face challenges. Here is a summary of the affected sectors.



The taps from Australian wineries were flowing smoothly to satiate the growing Chinese appetite for fine wine until recently in November when duties ranging from 100% to 200% were levied on Australian bottled wine.

As of December 2020, Australia wines will be subject to additional tariffs of around 6.5%.


Red Meat

Sources from Australian media revealed that due to issues pertaining to labelling and health certificates, imports from 6 Australian beef suppliers have been suspended.

Australian lamb exporters are also reportedly unable to get back into the Chinese market under COVID-19 restrictions.

Sheepmeat exports to China are worth more than $750 million a year.



Barley exports to China are now subject to 80.5% duties.



China has an import quota of around 894,000 tons of cotton that are subjected to minimal tariffs. Any amount over the limit is reportedly subject to 40% duty.

Australian cotton exporters are worried they might be subject to the duty.



Timber imports from Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania have been suspended citing ecological concerns.



Australian media has reported that live lobster shipments were stuck at Chinese airports and clearing houses, awaiting inspection from Chinese customs officials.

Australia’s Seafood Trade Advisory Group has temporarily suspended rock lobster exports to China, pending further negotiations with Australian and Chinese authorities to navigate new border inspection procedures and protocols.


Iron ore

Remains unaffected and has yet to be subject to any form of restrictions or duties. Prices have surged to record levels in recent weeks.



Remains unaffected despite travel advisories.



Borders of China and Australia remain shut for now, except for essential travel.