China’s disputes with the EU and U.S. over solar panel exports are now having a tangible impact on trade volumes.
The U.S imposed tariffs on solar cells made in China last year and the EU is threatening to follow suit in August.
In response the Chinese Ministry of Commerce last week increased tariffs on U.S. imports of solar grade polysilicon to as much as 59 percent of value. This followed the start of an anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigation into EU wines earlier this summer which threatens to result in a major increase in duties.
Already the investigation into EU wine exports has hit the trade from Europe to China, which accounted for almost 9 percent of total EU exports to China last year and has become an increasingly significant backhaul cargo for container lines.
The latest figures from China’s Chamber of Commerce show that although overall wine imports rose 10.6 percent to $660 million in the first half of the year, French wine imports fell 9.3 percent to $280 million. France retains almost half of the market, but the chamber said its “monopoly advantage” had been reduced by the threat of higher taxes.
EU wine is already taxed at 48 percent in China, and this rate would be increased if the anti-dumping investigation results in punitive tariffs, a threat that has seen some buyers already seek supplies elsewhere.
José Luis Hermoso, Head of Research at International Wine and Spirit Research, told the Journal of Commerce that France and other European wine-producing countries had been hopeful sales would not be affected, but the latest monthly figures instead suggested that non-EU producing countries such as Australia, Chile and the U.S. were now winning market share.
“It seems New World suppliers will benefit,” he added.
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