Threats of reprisals from China - The Chinese authorities were quick to respond following the European Union’s decision to impose duties on solar panel imports from China. Beijing chose wine as its target and called for the initiation of an antidumping and antisubsidy investigation into European wine imports into China.
The prospect of such retaliatory measures is fuelling concern among French operators. China is the third-largest customer for exports of French wine, representing 546 million euros of a European wine market that is estimated to be worth 800 million euros in China. “We fervently hope that the European Union and China will be able to ease these trade frictions through dialogue and negotiation and we are confident that France will be able to encourage them to do so” said Louis Fabrice Latour, chairman of the French Federation of Exporters of Wines and Spirits. For his part, François Hollande called for a meeting of the EU member states to prepare a joint response on the issue of trade negotiations with Beijing. Moreover, the EU’s decision has made an opening in Franco-German relations since Berlin was fundamentally against the imposition of duties on imports of solar panels from China.