Tensions ease over China-EU wine probe25th February, 2014 by Gabriel Stone
A stand off over the alleged dumping of European wine in China at unfairly low prices appears to be moving towards a resolution.
The issue flared up last summer, when the Chinese authorities launched an investigation and threatened to impose punitive levies on EU wine imports.
The move was widely viewed as retaliation for an EU move to introduce duties on cheap Chinese solar panels, although this has long since been resolved while the wine probe has remained in place.
France was set to be hit particularly hard by the move, since it accounted for more than half the $1.04 billion-worth of European wine shipped to China, excluding Hong Kong, in 2012.
However, in a joint news conference held in Paris yesterday with Chinese commerce minister Gua Hucheng, French trade minister Nicole Bricq indicated that tensions over the issue were easing.
After “constructive dialogue” between the two sides, reported Reuters, Bricq confirmed: “I am particularly happy to be able to say that we are on the right path towards a compromise on the probe into wine.”
A survey conducted last year highlighted the ongoing appeal of French wines among China’s urban middle and upper class, with Bordeaux Cabernet Sauvignon priced below ¥250 (£25) emerging as their typical choice.