China to probe EU wine after solar duties imposed

by Reuters
Wednesday, 5 June 2013 03:26 GMT

(Recasts, adds details, quotes)

BEIJING, June 5 (Reuters) - China hit back on Wednesday at the European Union's decision to impose duties on imports of Chinese solar panels, announcing that Beijing had begun an anti-dumping and anti-subsidy probe in European wine.

The EU will impose duties on imports of Chinese solar panels from Thursday, but announced a dramatically reduced initial rate after pressure from some large member states in the hope of reaching a negotiated settlement with Beijing.

China's Commerce Ministry said the EU's duties were imposed despite China making great efforts and showing enormous sincerity in trying to resolve the matter through talks.

"The European side still obstinately imposed unfair duties on Chinese imports of solar panels," the ministry said in a statement on its website (www.mofcom.gov.cn).

"The Chinese government has already begun the process of an anti-dumping and anti-subsidy probe into EU wines," the ministry added in the last line of its short statement, without providing details.

China imported 430 million litres of wine last year, of which more than two-thirds came from the EU, according to Chinese customs figures.

Imports from France alone came to 170 million litres.

The EU says it has evidence that Chinese firms are selling their goods below cost - a practice known as dumping. But the initial duty of 11.8 percent on solar panels announced on Tuesday by European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht was far below the average 47 percent that had been planned.

China's Commerce Ministry said it noted the lower initial rate, but called on the EU to "show more sincerity and flexibility to find a resolution both sides can accept through consultations".

China does not want to see this spat affect the overall state of trade ties with Europe, it said. (Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Xiaoyi Shao; Additional reporting by Beijing newsroom)

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