Jun 06, 2013

    Beijing targets wine import in trade row with EU

    BEIJING has begun an anti-dumping probe into European wine, the Commerce Ministry said yesterday, after the European Union imposed tariffs on solar-panel imports from China, in a dramatic broadening of their trade dispute.

    China is the EU's second-largest trading partner, with US$546 billion (S$684 billion) in two-way business last year, according to Beijing's figures, but the move widens a row that has already involved solar equipment, telecommunications, chemicals and seamless pipes.

    "The Chinese government has initiated an anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigation procedure into wines from the EU," Commerce Ministry spokesman Shen Danyang said in a statement.

    Analysts said the dispute threatened to escalate towards a trade war.

    On Tuesday, the European Commission imposed anti-dumping duties on imports of Chinese solar panels, with France supporting the move in defiance of German-led opposition.

    Beijing's choice of wine as the target for an apparent response may have been a pointed signal.

    France was the largest individual wine-supplier nation to China last year, with 140 million litres worth US$788 million sold.