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China sees red over Europe wine imports
by Staff Writers
Shanghai (AFP) Aug 20, 2012

A Chinese industry group has asked the government to probe European wine imports, claiming EU subsidies are harming domestic producers, state media said Monday.

The China Alcoholic Drinks Industry Association has urged the Ministry of Commerce to investigate whether wine from the European Union is damaging the nation's domestic market, the official Xinhua news agency said.

"Almost every Chinese winemaker has felt the impact from the EU," an official of the association, Wang Zuming, was quoted as saying.

"The EU has provided various subsidies to the wine industry, putting Chinese makers at a disadvantage," he added.

Wang confirmed to AFP that the association had made the formal request to the government, but declined further comment. The ministry could not be reached for comment.

China is seeking to build a domestic wine industry. Much of the wine made in the country has until recently been mass-produced and of low quality, but there are now some good Chinese wines being produced, experts say.

According to European estimates, exports of wine and spirits to China total more than one billion euros ($1.2 billion) annually.

But counterfeiting in China has caused huge losses for European winemakers, particularly Bordeaux wineries. Bordeaux is popular in China.

The International Organisation of Vine and Wine estimates that wine consumption in China, the world's most populous country, rose to 17 million hectolitres (mhl) last year, up by 1.5 mhl from 2010.

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