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EU halts solar panels, China stops wine

Staff writer |
China has launched an investigation of wine imports from the European Union, officials said, a day after the EU announced duties on Chinese solar products.

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The Chinese Ministry of Commerce said the investigation of the EU wine industry is not a "retaliatory measure". China is firmly opposed to the European Union's 11.8 percent tariffs on the country's solar panel products, officials said.

China's wine imports rose by 8.9 percent to 430 million liters in 2012, according to the General Administration of Customs, writes China Daily. The imports were valued at about $2.57 billion. The EU accounted for more than two-thirds of the imports, with France being the biggest export country.

According to the EU, the duties on China's solar panel companies will be imposed in two stages, starting at 11.8 percent for the first two months, followed by 47.6 percent for another four months.

"Overall, the duties will range from 37.2 percent to 67.9 percent at that stage. Those Chinese companies which have cooperated will face lower tariffs. Those which have not cooperated will face higher tariffs," said EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht.

Most Chinese solar panel companies have encountered difficulties continuing doing business in the European market since the investigation and some experts worry that other economies may follow the EU's action and start similar investigations.

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