Australia will "vigorously defend" its multi-billion-dollar wine industry from new punitive Chinese tariffs, its agriculture minister said Friday, raising the threat of countermeasures through the World Trade Organisation.
Wine exports to China hit a record A$1.3 billion previous year, according to Australian government data, making it the biggest market by value for the product.
China on Friday repeated that it had "taken measures on imported products in accordance with the law".
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne previously decried China's treatment of Yang as "unacceptable".
China increasingly is using its populous market as leverage to extract political concessions and increase its strategic influence.
Birmingham, the Australian minister, said the accumulation of sanctions on Australian imports suggested they were due to "other factors" but gave no details.More news: Bam signs 5-year, $163M extension with Heat
Subsidiary Treasury Wine Estates Vintners is subject to duties as high as 169.3 per cent, according to the China commerce ministry statement.
"This is a very distressing time for many hundreds of Australian wine producers, who have built, in good faith, a sound market in China", he said.
"We hope Australia will provide conditions for bringing bilateral relations back on track", Zhao said.
The two nations have been in a deadlock since 2018, when Canberra barred Huawei Technologies Co from building its 5G network.
"This latest hit by the Chinese government shows Beijing is determined to teach Australia a lesson that can reverberate globally", said John Blaxland, a former intelligence officer who's now a professor in global security at the Australian National University. "We're a fair trading nation".
Morrison sought this week to release some of the pressure, giving a speech that praised China for pulling its people out of poverty.More news: What's happening in Charles Barkley/Phil Mickelson vs. Steph Curry/Peyton Manning golf match
The Australian government was holding meetings with winemakers on Friday.
A foreign ministry spokesman warned: "No matter if they have five or ten eyes, if they dare to damage China's sovereignty, security and development interests, they should beware of being blinded".
Diplomatic disputes over Australia's calls for an independent inquiry into the coronavirus and China's actions in the South China Sea and Hong Kong culminated last week when the Chinese embassy issued a list of 14 grievances with Australia's policy positions.
China launched the anti-dumping probe into Australian wine imports in August at the request of the Chinese Alcoholic Drink Association.
Beijing's latest move comes against a backdrop of increasing tension between the countries after Canberra called for an worldwide inquiry into the origins of the novel coronavirus.
ReutersBottles of Penfolds Grange, made by Australian wine maker Penfolds and owned by Australia's Treasury Wine Estates, on a shelf for sale.More news: Lack of Canadian vaccine production means others could get inoculations first: PM