The overriding aim is to boost exports of Spanish wines to China. Currently, Spain is the fourth-largest supplier of wines to the Chinese market. Over 1,000 bodegas exported wines worth 87.5 million euros to China in 2012, up 22 percent on the previous year. The volume of trade is one that the Spanish authorities are keen to safeguard and expand. The memorandum of understanding signed in Beijing last week includes a clause aimed at developing a digital communication system to check certificates of origin and prevent fraud. Provisions have also been made to optimise tracking systems and effective protection of Spanish geographical indications and appellations.
During her visit to China Isabel Garcia Tejerina also met representatives from Chinese giant COFCO, the country’s largest importer of foodstuffs and one of the world’s top 500 companies. Over the first half of the year, Spanish wine exports to China totalled 44.9 million euros, an increase of 12 percent on the previous six-month period. The Spanish authorities have highlighted the surge in bottled exports by value (+41 percent) and the concurrent decline in bulk shipments (-49 percent). They are currently lobbying the Chinese administration to end the threat of tax hikes on wines imported from Europe in retaliation over Europe’s stance on Chinese solar panel imports to the EU. At the 7th Spain-China forum last week in Beijing, Spanish Secretary of State for Trade, Jaime Garcia-Legaz, said that China had committed to finding a “satisfactory short term solution for Spanish interests”. Garcia-Legaz said that the Spanish government would be doing its utmost to end the dispute over the coming weeks.