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EU, China Agree Remedy In Wine Dispute

by Mary Swire,, Hong Kong

25 March 2014

Following the recent resolution of the trade dispute over European Union (EU) exports of solar-grade polysilicon, China and the EU have welcomed another agreement to resolve a trade dispute involving European wine exports without the imposition of anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties.

The termination of Chinese investigations into European wine exports, following talks between the European Committee of Wine Companies and the Chinese Alcohol Drinks Association that were initiated in July 2013, will provide the basis for technical cooperation and exchanges over the next two years, it was agreed.

In announcing a memorandum of understanding between the wine industries in both countries, China's Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng welcomed the resolution of the dispute by dialogue and negotiation. He said that, over the last year, China and the EU have been "moving along the right track to handle trade friction by negotiation, proving once again that dialogue and consultation between enterprises is the best option to resolve differences."

EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht applauded "the fact that the Chinese wine industry will withdraw its application for anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures." Adding: "After the recent agreement reached in the polysilicon case, this is yet another positive development which will further strengthen the EU-China bilateral relationship."

During the trade dispute, the European Commission was said to have consistently defended the view that the MOC's case was unfounded, and that there had been no injury suffered by the Chinese wine producers that could be linked to European wine imports into China. However, parallel to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce's (MOC's) investigation, a "business-to-business" dialogue was initiated in November 2013 in Beijing, supported by both the Commission and the MOC.

Upon the termination of the investigation by the MOC, the EU wine industry will provide a number of technical assistance packages to the Chinese side in areas such as vine growing (experimental vineyards and mechanization techniques), wine making and quality controls, and marketing approaches. In addition, the Chinese wine industry will assist the EU industry to improve wine knowledge among Chinese consumers and promote the appreciation of its wines.

It was added that, in the past six years (2007-2012), the Chinese wine market has experienced very significant growth. EU wine exports to China amounted to EUR764m (USD1bn) in 2012 – 71 percent of which was from France; 11.7 percent from Spain; and 10.1 percent from Italy. EU exports worldwide during that period amounted to EUR8.9bn.

TAGS: tax | business | European Commission | tariffs | anti-dumping | China | food | agreements | memorandum of understanding (MOU) | import duty | trade | European Union (EU) | Europe

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