The Daily Telegraph reported on the 23rd of April that Australian vineyard owners were uneasy because customs clearances of Australian grapes in Hong Kong have slowed down. The federal government of Australia canceled a 'one road, one belt' agreement between China and some of the Australian states, and this is one of the consequences.
Jeff Scott, CEO of the Australian Table Grape Association, said that Australia ships around 150 shipping containers full of Australian grapes to China every week, but only 8-10 shipping containers smoothly pass through customs every day. "We realized three weeks ago that China had implemented stricter procedures for the inspection of Australian fruit."
According to Scott, refrigerated shipping containers take 5-10 days longer than usual to clear customs in China. He also emphasized that people should not jump to the conclusion that this is the result of federal government actions.
One grape exporter from Sunraysia disagrees and stated that they received news from contacts in China that this situation is in response to Marise Payne 'tearing up' the one road, one belt agreement.
"We just received news from our Chinese business partners that the situation worsened because of the failed 'one road, one belt' agreement between China and Australia. They said that 'we think this situation has to do with the issue of one road, one belt in Australia'."
This exporter also explained that the Chinese market conditions of Australian grapes are 'terrible' at the moment. All the grapes are stuck at customs in Shenzhen, Nansha, and Shekou. They each admit only 2 shipping containers per day.
The Daily Telegraph pointed out that this delay costs vineyard owners a lot of money. The cost is around 1,000 Australian dollar [778 USD] per shipping container per day. Furthermore, the temperatures can reach as high as 30℃, which will quickly spoil the grapes.
Another smaller exporter said that they experience very little difficulty. They have 5 shipping containers in Chinese ports and every day one of them is admitted.
"They have not stopped the import of Australian grapes, but exporters definitely experience different degrees of obstruction. The overall speed is much lower than usual," said this exporter.