France seeks EU meeting on wine spat with China | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 05.06.2013
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France seeks EU meeting on wine spat with China

French President Francoise Hollande has requested a special EU meeting to forge a common stance on the EU's trade row with China. The call has come after China launched an anti-dumping probe into French wine.

--File--A customer shops for imported wine at a supermarket in Fuzhou city, southeast Chinas Fujian province, 28 March 2011. Foreign wine imports are growing rapidly in China, as the nation has imported a record of US$1.27 billion of bottled wine in 2011, up 94 percent year-on year. However, the value of imported loose-packed wine was down 20 percent from the previous year to US$120 million, according to the statistics released at the first China Worldwide Wine Summit Forum. The sale of imported bottled wine first surpassed imported loose-packed wine in 2009, Xinhua news agency quoted Lin Feng, vice president of H & J Consulting Company. The sale of imported bottled wine doubled that of loose-packed wine in two years, indicating that the imported wine market is evolving from low-end to high-end, Lin said during the forum held in Hefei, capital of Anhui Province. According to statistics provided by the China Culture Association of Poetry and Wine (CCAPW), also the sponsor of the forum, the total volume of imported wine increased 76.5 percent and 80.9 percent in 2010 and 2011 respectively.

China Importzölle auf Wein aus Europa

President Francoise Hollande has told a cabinet meeting that European Union member states should meet to discuss a common policy in the face of mounting trade tensions with China, French government spokeswoman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem announced Wednesday.

"The President of the Republic expressed his desire that the European commission take steps to organize a meeting to establish a united position based on solidarity," she said following the cabinet meeting.

Hollande made the call after China announced an anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigation into EU wine on Wednesday. France is Europe's biggest supplier of wine to China.

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Trade War with China - What would it mean?

Beijing's move is seen as coming in retaliation for punitive tariffs imposed on Tuesday by the European Union's executive Commission on Chinese solar exports to the 27-nation bloc. Accusing China of undercutting market prices with state subsidies, Brussels has slapped 11.8 percent higher duties on Chinese solar panels, which will rise to an average of 47.6 percent in August.

While France supported the punitive action, the move was opposed by Germany and a number of other EU member states which fear for their booming trade with the Asian economic powerhouse.

On Wednesday, German economic minister Philipp Rösler called for dialog rather than confrontation with China, reiterating that Berlin regarded the decision on solar panels as a serious mistake.

uhe/dr (dpa, AFP)

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