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China's EU wine probe sparks worries

By Li Xiang in Paris | China Daily | Updated: 2013-06-13 03:05

Experts said that a compromise and collaborative agreement between China and the EU are necessary to resolve the dispute.

"In the solar panel case and the wine case, we are at the first steps of investigations on both sides. Thus, a mutually acceptable compromise will be negotiated more or less rapidly because a trade war would be too damaging to both sides," said Jean-Paul Larcon, a professor at French business school Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales de Paris.

Larcon said the French position in favor of the penalty on Chinese solar exports can be explained by the country's internal debate on its energy policy and the need to diversify energy sources.

"French companies have a strong competitive advantage in the nuclear energy sector, but they are quite week in the solar energy sector. So the French position aims to protect French companies in this area," he said.

Francoise Nicolas, director of the Center for Asia Studies at the French Institute of International Relations, said that the objective of the tariffs is to engage a dialogue with China, as the imposed duties on the solar panels give Beijing time to come to the negotiating table.

"Unlike Germany, I suppose France thinks that there is a need to put stronger pressure to get Beijing to accept discussion and that simple requests are no longer enough," she said.

Some are concerned that the trade dispute may put fragile Sino-French relations at risk even though Hollande visited China less than two months ago in hopes of strengthening ties with the Chinese new leadership.

"It is not a minor dispute but it should not hide the very well-established long-term cooperation between China and France in the political, economic and cultural domain," Larcon said.

"China and France will find a positive solution to the current dispute because of the potential of mutually beneficial collaboration and the interests of French companies," he said.

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