China Opens Anti-Dumping Investigation of EU Wine Imports

China said it started anti-dumping and anti-subsidy probes on wines imported from the European Union following a request from domestic producers.

The probe, which started yesterday, will include investigations of subsidies for EU wines given in 2012 and the impact on China’s wine industry between January 2009 and the end of last year, the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement on its website. The checks are in response to a May 15 request from the China Alcoholic Drinks Association on behalf of the domestic wine industry, according to the statement.

The wine probe comes as a dispute over solar equipment has ratcheted up trade tensions between China and the EU. China first said it planned to pursue an investigation of EU wines a day after the 28-nation bloc announced tariffs as high as 67.9 percent on Chinese solar panels.

China’s wine imports rose 8.9 percent to 430 million liters in 2012, according to data from China’s customs agency. The imports were valued at about $2.57 billion, it said. The EU accounted for more than two-thirds of the shipments, with France being the biggest source, it said.

The European Commission “is disappointed to learn of this action by China,” spokesman John Clancy said in an e-mailed statement. “The commission will examine in detail whether the Chinese case is consistent” with World Trade Organization rules.

The Chinese commerce ministry informed EU representatives in China of a possible investigation into wines on June 5, and invited feedback, according to yesterday’s statement. On June 21, the commission submitted its comments regarding the probe to China, the ministry said.