French minister says China wine deal drawing nearer
- Tuesday 25 February 2014
Image: Getty / AFP / Eric Piermont
Nicole Bricq (pictured, left) said following a meeting with China's commerce minister, Gao Hucheng (pictured, right), in Paris that 'we are on the right path towards a compromise' on the probe into wine imports, Reuters news agency reported.
Her comments will offer some cheer to winemakers dealing with uncertainty caused by the investigation, which China opened last July in what some observers saw as retaliation for European Commission efforts to impose tariffs on solar panel shipments from China to the EU.
France accounts for around half of the wine leaving the EU for China annually and the French government has not missed an opportunity to build bridges with the Chinese authorities.
Yet, decanter.com understands from sources close to the matter that efforts to end the wine dispute remain very much a 'work in progress'.
China's president, Xi Jinping, is due to visit Paris next month, which may provide an opportunity for progress.
A European Commission spokesperson could not confirm whether a meeting between EU and Chinese representatives over the wine probe took place as originally scheduled on 17 February.