Beijing has begun an anti-dumping probe into European wine, the commerce ministry said Wednesday, after the EU imposed tariffs on solar panel imports from China.
"The Chinese government has initiated an anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigation procedure into wines from the European Union," commerce ministry spokesman Shen Danyang said in a statement.
China is the EU's second-largest trading partner, but the move is a dramatic widening of the disputes between them, which have already involved solar equipment and telecoms on Brussels' part, and chemicals and seamless pipes by Beijing.
On Tuesday the European Commission imposed anti-dumping duties on imports of Chinese solar panels, defying German-led opposition and warnings from Beijing.
EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said they were being sold at up to 88 percent below cost in the European market and the "dumping" was harming the European solar panel industry.
The Commission would levy an initial average tariff of 11.8 percent from Thursday, rising to 47.6 percent on August 6 in the absence of negotiations based on a Chinese commitment to address the problem.
Beijing "firmly opposes" the EU move, Shen said in the ministry statement, describing the tariffs as "unfair taxes against China's photovoltaic products exports to Europe".
"The Chinese government and industry have shown great sincerity and made enormous efforts in resolving the issue via dialogues and consultations," he said.
"We hope the European side will show further sincerity and flexibility and find a solution that is acceptable to both sides via consultations."