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Chinese demand drives value of Australian wine exports to 10-year high

  CANBERRA, April 16 (Xinhua) -- The value of Australia's wine exports has hit the highest mark in a decade, a report released on Monday found.

  Wine Australia's latest Export Report revealed that the value of wine exports from Australia increased 16 percent in the 12 months to March 2018 to 2.65 billion Australian dollars (2.06 billion U.S. dollars).

  "Regional Australia continues to benefit from higher exports -- we're not going to get rich selling to ourselves," Anne Ruston, Australia's assistant minister for agriculture and water resources, said in a media release on Monday.

  "It makes sense that we export our wine when the world's largest market is right on our doorstep."

  "These record wine export numbers also have benefits far beyond the cellar door, with important flow-on effects for the towns and cities around our wine regions."

  Exports to China rose 51 percent to 1.04 billion Australian dollars (808 million U.S. dollars), the first time exports to a single market were worth more than 1 billion Australian dollars.

  Ruston credited the signing of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) for the considerable growth.

  "New market opportunities underpinned by free trade deals secured by the ... government are providing producers the ability to increase their sales and reinvest in their business."

  "The government anticipates the value and volume of wine exports to China will only grow as tariffs for Australian wine into China will be entirely removed from January 1 next year."

  The Australian government in August 2017 announced the Export and Regional Wine Support Package, a 50 million Australian dollar initiative aimed at growing the Australian wine sector by showcasing the nation's wine tourism and driving demand for wine exports.