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Wine Spectator: Trade Dispute Threatens European Wine Sales to China

July 25, 2013

A developing trade dispute between China and Europe over solar panels has created a tense, damaging situation for European wine producers, who are facing retaliatory tariffs on their exports to China, Wine Spectator reports.

After investigating allegations that China has been “dumping” solar panels, or selling them below cost to gain market share, the European Union on June 4 imposed provisional anti-dumping duties on imports of solar panels from China.

A day after the announcement, Beijing announced it would investigate a complaint by the Chinese wine industry that Europeans have been exporting wine to China at below cost and subsidizing exports.

In France, Bernard Farges, president of the Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux (CIVB), said that the wine trade is already feeling the pain of a possible trade war. “Uncertainty is bad for business. Orders have slowed down,” he said. An EU trade official close to the negotiations told Wine Spectator that they were using every opportunity to defuse the situation. “Our office takes this very seriously.”

One French source told SND in recent weeks there’s talk that Chinese duties on EU wines could rise from 48% to as high as 70% unless the dispute is resolved. According to Chinese government figures, French wine imports to China fell 9% to $280 million through the first five months of 2013, although other EU nations like Spain and Italy—as well as New World countries like the U.S. and Australia—continued to enjoy solid increases.

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