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China Drops European Wine Dumping Inquiry

A customer chooses a bottle of wine in a supermarket in China's Hubei province
© AFP | A customer chooses a bottle of wine in a supermarket in China's Hubei province
Amicable end to Chinese investigation that threatened European wine imports.

Beijing will end an anti-dumping inquiry into wine imports from the European Union, China's commerce ministry said Friday, after what it said was a deal between producers.

The announcement came on the eve of Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Europe.

The ministry said in a statement that after six rounds of talks since November, Chinese and European wine industry groups signed a memorandum of understanding on Tuesday to "solve the dispute through cooperation".

Under the agreement, Chinese wine companies will ask authorities to end the investigations, it said.

The news will be a relief for European wine producers. European Union-made wines accounted for 65.2 percent of China's total wine imports in 2012 and 15.6 percent of the Chinese wine market, government figures showed.

France, Spain, Italy and Germany are the E.U.'s major wine exporters, making up more than 96 percent of the bloc's total wine shipments to China.

France's Trade Minister Nicole Bricq called the deal "excellent news [that] proves that we can have a frank and constructive dialogue with our Chinese friends."

In July China's commerce ministry announced the anti-dumping investigation into wines imported from the E.U., which were worth $1.04 billion in 2012, according to official data.

It came after the E.U. imposed emergency levies on imported Chinese solar panels, with the two embroiled in a series of trade disputes.

Later in July the two announced an "amicable solution" on solar panels, which reduced the tensions and was seen as opening the way for an eventual resolution of the wine issues.

"We are happy to see industries from both sides deepen understanding through dialogue and resolve the dispute via cooperation," Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng said in a statement.

Under the deal, the European wine industry will provide a number of technical assistance packages to the Chinese side in areas such as of grape growing, winemaking and marketing. The Chinese will assist European wine producers to organize wine tastings in China and to improve the wine knowledge among the Chinese consumers.

Related stories:

China Opens E.U. Wine Probe

China Steps Up Wine Dispute

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