China Launches Anti-Dumping Probe Against EU Wine

China has launched an anti-dumping and anti-subsidy probe against wine imported from the European Union (EU).

The move comes a day after the EU imposed anti-dumping levies on Chinese solar panel imports.

Dumping refers to a practice where firms sell goods below their fair value. The EU alleges that such practice by China’s solar panel makers has hurt the region’s manufacturers.

However, China said it “resolutely opposes” the “unfair” levies by the EU.

“The Chinese government and industry have shown great sincerity and made enormous efforts in resolving the issue via dialogues and consultations,” Shen Danyang, a spokesman for China’s commerce ministry said in a statement.

“We hope the European side will show further sincerity and flexibility and find a solution that is acceptable to both sides via consultations.”

The commerce ministry gave no immediate details about the scope or timeline of its EU wine investigation.

Ongoing dispute

China is the world’s largest producer of solar panels and exported 21bn euros ($27bn; £18bn) worth of panels to the EU in 2011.

However, its success has been marred by allegations that it had been unfairly undercutting the local manufacturers.

On Tuesday, EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said the price at which the Chinese panels were sold in Europe should be 88% higher than current charges.

As a result, the European Commission unveiled anti-dumping duties on Chinese solar panel imports.

However, they were lower than originally proposed – initially averaging 11.8% – and will be phased in gradually.

Last month, the Chinese government had warned the EU that it would “take necessary steps” to defend its national interests, if any duties were levied against its goods.

Some analysts suggested that Beijing’s latest move was a direct consequence of the EU decision.

“This might represent retaliation to what happened yesterday,” Davide Cucino, President of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in Beijing, told the BBC.

“There is no interest for both actors to play the protectionism card, and frankly speaking retaliation represents a missed opportunity for China to provide the necessary evidence… in order to carry out a resolution to the photo voltaic case.”

However, Mr Cucino added that the decision by the EU to impose only a portion of the duties “leaves space for a negotiation that might bring good results within a couple of months, with no effects to the two parties”.