China’s commerce ministry has announced the country will impose a 15% tariff on US wine imports as part of a wider introduction of tariffs on imports of 128 US products worth approximately $3bn.

This move is in response to President Trump’s declaration last week that the US would impose 25% import duties on Chinese imports worth $50bn. The products targeted by the US tariffs include aerospace and aeronautical equipment, agricultural equipment and advanced medical products.

The Chinese imposition of tariffs occurs as US wine imports to China are beginning to grow. According to Chinese customs figures, the domestic value of US wine increased by 44% between 2016 and 2017 and the volume of US wine imported into China declined by 1.06%, which is half the decline seen between 2015 and 2016. Overall, the US retained its status as China’s sixth largest wine importer. The figures imply Chinese consumers are moving towards purchasing more expensive, premium wine brands.

The US trade association Wine Institute estimated that the value of US wine exports to China totalled $210m in 2017, an increase of 10% on the previous year.

Australia remained China’s second largest wine importer. It saw a 33.3% increase in volume and a 25.8% rise in value in 2017. Australia’s share of the Chinese wine import market is set to increase further as a result of China reducing import tariffs on the country’s wine products from 14% to 2.8% in January 2018 and the declared aim of continuing to reduce duties to zero by 2019 as a part of a bilateral trade deal.

Wine Institute trade director for China and the Pacific Rim Christopher Beros explained the growth in US wine exports to China, saying: “China has a rapidly growing middle class that is travelling outside the country and adopting many western tastes and lifestyle preferences. Consumption of imported wine has increased 2.5 times in the last five years on the Chinese mainland. We expect this trend to continue for the foreseeable future.”

Other industries and products targeted by the Chinese retaliatory tariffs are fresh fruit, ginseng, recycled aluminium, dried fruit and nuts, steel pipes and US pork.