Australia’s government-backed wine marketing and research body said it will close its physical office in Shanghai, as prohibitive tariffs on its product have dimmed opportunities in the China market.

The move to shutter Wine Australia’s only China office follows extensive consultation with the Australian grape and wine sector, a spokesperson said, adding that the decision was based on the current trading environment.

“Wine Australia will continue to maintain our brand presence in China via our wine trade and consumer facing social media channels, and will continue to work closely with in-market trade representatives on brand building and marketing campaigns,” the spokesperson said.

Australian wine makers and growers were left reeling in 2020 when they were targeted by Beijing officials, who suddenly imposed import duties of more than 200% on Australian product as relations between the two countries deteriorated.

The move effectively shut access to its most prized market, with exports to mainland China plummeting by almost A$1 billion, or 97%, in 2021 from the year prior.