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EU, China end row over wine

March 21, 2014

One day ahead of a visit to Europe by China’s President Xi, Brussels and Beijing have struck a deal ending their bilateral trade dispute over wine imports. The ‘amicable solution’ includes more wine tastings in China.

China Importzölle auf Wein aus Europa
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

The EU Commission expected the trade dispute over wine to be formally terminated so that exports of EU wine to China could continue in a fair and competitive environment, EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht said in a statement released Friday.

EU Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos spoke in a similar vein, describing the agreement as an amicable solution which would clearly bring benefits to farmers and consumers in China and the EU.

In June 2013, Beijing announced an official probe into EU wine exports to China, investigating whether the 28-nation bloc was illegally subsidizing exports thus undercutting market prices. The move was seen as retaliation for EU anti-dumping duties on Chinese solar panels, as well as a probe into alleged price-dumping by Chinese telecoms equipment makers.

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On Friday, China's Trade Minister Gao Hucheng told reporters in Beijing that China and the EU were on the right path toward ending their trade disputes.

Under the deal, the EU wine industry will provide additional know-how for its Chinese counterparts on issues such as growing and making wine, as well as organize wine tastings and quality controls in China. In turn, China will take steps to improve wine knowledge among consumers and to promote wine culture in China, the EU Commission wrote.

The president of the European Committee of Wine Companies, Jean Marie-Barillere, said he was very satisfied that the complaint had been withdrawn, adding that the agreement would allow fair competition with domestic and other foreign wine exporters in China.

Just a few days ago, the EU and China ended a trade dispute over silicon exports to the Asian country by company Wacker, guaranteeing a minimum price for the German specialty chemicals maker. The price-dumping row in the telecoms equipment sector, affecting primarily China's Huawei and ZTE, has not yet been resolved.

uhe (dpa, Reuters)