France has demanded that the European Union holds an emergency summit after Beijing responded to a Brussels announcement of "anti-dumping" tariffs on Chinese solar panels by threatening retaliatory levies on wine imported from Europe.
One day after the European Commission levied heavy tariffs, likely to be up to 46 per cent, on subsidised solar panels made in China, authorities in Beijing announced plans for a tit-for-tat move, to levy a similar "anti-dumping" duty on wines made in the EU.
French President Francois Hollande is alarmed at a development that threatens exports worth €546 million ($904 million).
The Chinese Trade Ministry said it had started an anti-dumping investigation into EU wines at the request of Chinese wineries.
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"The ministry has already received an application from the domestic wine industry, which accuses wines imported from Europe of entering China's market by use of unfair trade tactics such as dumping and subsidies," said a ministry statement.
The Chinese move targets France and other wine producers - all of which happen to be countries that supported the commission's tariffs on Chinese solar panels despite opposition from Germany, Britain and 16 other exporting or free-trade supporting countries.