BEIJING Aug 21 Chinese wine producers have
asked the government to investigate whether winemakers in the
European Union are dumping cheap wine in China.
The China Alcoholic Drinks Association has asked the
Ministry of Commerce to look into dumping as well as subsidies
to European wine makers, the association said on its website.
Wine exports from the EU to China have increased sharply in
recent years, reaching 169 million litres in 2011, compared with
35.9 million litres in 2008, Wang Zuming, secretary of the
association's wine subcommittee, was quoted as saying.
"Almost all wine enterprises in China have strongly felt the
impact of the attack by wine imports from the European Union,
with operations, performance and market share seriously
sliding," Wang said.
"The Chinese wine consumption market has shown great
potential. By exporting such large amounts of cheap wine, it's
obvious they're trying to seize Chinese market share."
Inexpensive wine imports to China are growing rapidly, says
Jim Boyce, a Beijing-based wine writer who runs the blog
Grapewallofchina.com. Wine from Spain made up some 5 percent of
the Chinese bulk wine market in 2009, but that share has soared
to 50 percent of the market now, he said.
"If you look at the first quarter of 2012, Spanish wines
were 9.2 percent of the Chinese market by volume, but 5.1
percent of the market by value," Boyce said. "Whether that's
dumping I don't know, but a lot of people are probably looking
at that and thinking so."
Calls on Tuesday to the drinks association office went
unanswered, and there was no response to a query faxed to the
Commerce Ministry asking if it planned an investigation.
China has become the world's fifth-largest consumer of wine,
according to an annual industry study published in February by
VINEXPO/International Wine and Spirit Research.
Increasing wine imports are putting pressure on domestic
producers. Dynasty Fine Wines Group Ltd reported that
2011 revenue sank 10.5 percent from 2010. China Great Wall Wine
Co saw revenue decline 2.1 percent last year, according to the
Global Times newspaper.
Domestic brands frequently seek foreign investment and
expertise, and foreign winemakers - mostly French - are
investing in several new vineyards to produce high-end still and
sparkling wine for wealthy customers in China.
Wealthy Chinese consumers show an overwhelming preference
for expensive French wine, and Chinese companies and well-to-do
individuals are buying multimillion-dollar wine chateaux in
France's Bordeaux region.
(Reporting by Terril Yue Jones; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)