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A European business group defined Chinese calls to probe EU wine imports as "protectionist"

22.08.12 | News

A European business group on Wednesday criticised Chinese calls to probe EU wine imports as "protectionist", as a dispute between the major trading partners threatened to escalate, reported AFP.

The China Alcoholic Drinks Industry Association this week formally requested the government to investigate whether wine from the European Union was damaging the domestic market.

China's commerce ministry is now considering whether to take action following the request, which made claims of unfair European subsidies to its industry, state media reported.

The EU Chamber of Commerce in China called the developments a "worrisome trend of trade protectionism".

"We strongly oppose such protectionist measures," said Zhang Qi, the vice chair of the chamber's agriculture, food and beverage working group.

"No doubt, both China and the EU will suffer from a trade dispute over wine, while Chinese wine lovers and consumers would be the biggest victims," Zhang said in a statement.

The EU chamber said possible moves by China against alleged "dumping" and other retaliatory measures would hurt free trade and efforts by Chinese producers to improve quality.