‘Drink a Bottle or Two’: Global MPs Back Australian Wine in the Face of Beijing ‘Bullying’ and Tariffs

‘Drink a Bottle or Two’: Global MPs Back Australian Wine in the Face of Beijing ‘Bullying’ and Tariffs
Bottles of Australian wine are displayed at a supermarket in Hangzhou, in eastern China's Zhejiang province on November 27, 2020. (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)
Daniel Y. Teng

A global alliance representing 200 parliamentarians from around the world, has launched a campaign in support of Australian wines and in opposition to Beijing’s increased “bullying” via bans on trade.

Launched on Twitter on Tuesday, the short video featured members of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) calling on citizens in their respective nations to put aside their national beverages during December, and instead buying Australian wine.

During the video, Australian Senator Kimberley Kitching described an incident last month where the Chinese embassy handed a dossier of 14 grievances to media outlets, calling for the Australian government to back down from its efforts to safeguard its sovereignty.

In response, Beijing has “cancelled a range of Australian imports in an attempt to bully us into abandoning our values,” Kitching said.

“This isn’t an attack on Australia, it’s an attack on free countries everywhere.”

Miriam Lexmann, a member of the European Parliament called on people to "stand against Xi Jinping's authoritarian bullying."

“By drinking a bottle or two of Australian wine, and letting the Chinese Communist Party know that we will not be bullied,” Elisabet Lann, Swedish councillor continued.

“Cheers … no bullying from China,” Danish politican Uffe Elbæk said.

IPAC was established in June seeking to hold the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to the international rules-based order and universal human rights.

It comprises representatives from Australia, Canada, the United States, Germany, Japan, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the European Parliament.

The CCP’s behaviour over the last week has attracted widespread condemnation following the imposition of massive tariffs on Australian wine imports. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison also expressed disgust publicly to a Twitter post by the Chinese foreign minister featuring a photoshopped image of an Australian Defence Force soldier threatening a child with a knife.

Last weekend, the CCP’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) slapped tariffs ranging from 100 to 200 percent on Australian wine imports as part of its ongoing “anti-dumping” investigation into the industry.

Australia’s largest wine producer Treasury Wine Estates (makers of Penfolds, Rawson’s Retreat, and Jacob’s Creek) was hit with one of the highest tariffs at 169.3 percent.

While smaller winemakers were slugged with a broad-ranging 212.1 percent tariff.

MOFCOM claimed it found “substantial” dumping of wine from Australian wine companies and that there was a “direct relationship” between the dumping and actual damage in the Chinese wine market.

Wine experts have dismissed the claims calling them “baseless.”

While the prime minister pointed to Australian wines having the second-highest average price in China in the first half of 2020, following New Zealand wines.

Daniel Y. Teng is based in Brisbane, Australia. He focuses on national affairs including federal politics, COVID-19 response, and Australia-China relations. Got a tip? Contact him at daniel.teng@epochtimes.com.au.