China officially opens EU wine investigations

China officially launched anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations on Monday into wines imported from the European Union, the Ministry of Commerce said, the latest move in a series of trade disputes.

The probes will include investigations of EU wine subsidies and their impact on China's wine industry, the ministry said in a statement on its website.

The inquiries, due to last one year but which may be extended by six months, were first announced on June 5.

One day earlier the European Commission had imposed an average tariff of 11.8 percent on Chinese solar panel imports, due to rise to more than 47 percent in August if there is no resolution.

China has since slapped anti-dumping taxes of up to 36.9 percent on a chemical imported from the EU.

The moves have fuelled fears that trade disputes between them were escalating.

Total trade between China and the EU fell 3.7 percent year-on-year in 2012, with China's imports from the region rising 0.4 percent to $212 billion, while shipments in the opposite direction dropped 6.2 percent to $334 billion, Chinese customs data showed.

The European Commission said it was "disappointed" with China's decision.

"The Commission will examine in detail if this case conforms to World Trade Organisation rules," said John Clancy, EU spokesman on commercial affairs.