The Indicator from Planet Money - Australian Wine: Political Football

Australian wine exports to China have gone from about $1 billion a year to nearly nothing overnight. Australia blames geopolitics, saying the Chinese government wants to send a message to the world.

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Content Keywords: Chinese government
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Before Richie, Vandenberg started in the wine industry was an Australian Rules Football player. Australian Rules Football is a cross between NFL football and soccer was earning all this money playing Australian Rules. Football kind of checking out the Finer Things in life started, collecting wine and it came to really love the classic Australian Shiraz and after she retired from Sports at the ripe old age of 30. He need a new career. He went from wine connoisseur to Wine Prevea. He started his own wine business. Limestone Coast Wines in 2013, he bought a winery and started selling bulk wine for other brands to also both in Australia and overseas and the Chinese market in particular seemed promising.

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After about five years of doing really good business with China, suddenly, the country was proposing, massive Terrace, that would eliminate his exports in that country Richie's wine company had found itself in the crosshairs of China's trade policy from Planet Money. I'm Stacey Vanek Smith gallons of Australian wine at trapped in an international Feud.

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Starting in 2015, Richie Vandenberg sold a lot of wine to China, who is 3 million liters of wine to China, made up half of Richie's overall sales and for the Australian wine Industries whole China was the number one, export destination by A Lot, 1 billion dollars a year. Roughly then in the last four years, straight has started to get increasingly vocal in his criticism of the Chinese government. Some of these flights included in Deming China, for building new islands. In the South China Sea, that disputed territory, and another blow for the relationship Australian block away from building at the Australian 5G networks. And perhaps the biggest criticism from Australia condemning, the Chinese government Mass imprisonment of the Omega people in the sinkiang region.

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Millions of litres of Shiraz. If a country is just saying, more more more when rain will pay for it and will pay more for it. I mean, to turn them down. If it is possible for us to have a strong, a balance balance sheet, his savings, that was a huge help to him when Australian Chinese relations took a major nosedive last year. There were many moments where this was brewing, but there was this one moment where things kind of came to a head. I don't want to express an opinion about it. I want to know that the Australian prime minister Scott Morrison calling for an investigation into the origins and initial spread of the coronavirus in China. The Chinese government did not take this lying down. It fired back with this war of words for the remarks about China, ignorant.

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And bigoted. This is the Chinese foreign minister at the time saying, Australia has called for an investigation was political manipulation quotes, always come from the editor of the bombastic Chinese newspaper called the global times. It's kind of like a state Affiliated version of the New York Post and I'm going to leave this on Theater. 8. Say say it says it from China's perspective. Australia is quote a bit like chewing gum stuck on the sole of his shoes. Sometimes you have to find a stone to rub it off. That's rough. I have no ambiguity there. Now, I know that is, that is some major shade.

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It wasn't a complete surprise. The gravity of it was on Friday, in late November, the Chinese government slapped in enormous import tax on Australian wine. A hundred percent tear up for some wines 200% for others was, it wasn't ideal classic Australian, understatement importance, all the political writing on the wall. That station import any Australian, wine overnight, that half of Richie's Revenue gone. This business, that Richie and struggled so much to build. After a sporting career, it felt like it was crumbling.

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We had 250 people and now we've got a bath to 12 possum. Some katanas 10 million dollars a year in wine sales and this happened all over the country. Australia's billion dollar wine trade with China, Buffet Sibley obliterated, of course. They stairs from China at the country's both wine, producers in Australia and also consumers in China to have list toys. And of course people in China involved in the Australian wine trade, they are in a lot of trouble. Potentially, some will probably lose their livelihoods and the stated reason that the Chinese government gave they said that the Australian government had been subsidizing, that grape Growers and wine Butler's too much, trying to coat its own actions and he's dumping Terrace Texas to stop Australian supposedly dumping all the wine at a really cheap price hurting Chinese wine. Produces all day.

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Grape and wine, that's the winemakers trade group in Australia. We asked me whether he thought some Australian wine companies. Might have been dumping they want into China and flying the market just does not on Lisa's. Actually the Wine Australia sense to China. Tends to be among the highest price. Why not cheap wine that could potentially undercut local Growers. Also he says it was pretty lockable from a perspective and if he can pay what we get from a government to decide that your pain, produces Amit, it said it's minuscule. Ladies wine trade party is supporting the Australian government, taking their case to the World Trade Organization. Of course, the official response from the Chinese government is that there was genuine economic reasons for the terrorists.

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Syrian, you know, the truth will out. Finally last week, the deputy director at the Chinese. Foreign Ministry said he cleaned was because in the Chinese government's Australia has been attacking China on behalf of the United States to take Nicole to Spirit and it's not going away anytime soon, which is kind of the conclusion. That Richie. A winemaker came to back in November 2020 and started calling and calling trying to find other markets for their wine. Other countries to sell to Sweden, Denmark the American Market. He said this whole Adventure misadventure as really told him something quite serious. He never wants to leave all his eggs in one basket. Again, this is going to be

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You can start your toys in the corner or get up or you can you can find a way to turn into a positive, even really? That's what we tried today.

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this episode of,

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Biking to the hospital with help from killing Moon. It was fact-checked by Michael. Huh? Cake and Ken and edits the show. And the indicator is a production of NPR. We're looking for an intern for the indicator. From Planet Money. Yes! Baby! Got his work. If you are a current or recent student in the us, we would love to hear from. You go to npr.org internships at npr.org internship applications close this Friday July 16th.

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Good question. That's a really good question. Has free therapy interviews are really pretty interesting answers. Listen And subscribe to Fresh Air from WHYY n NPR.
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