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France to drag Russia to WTO over new 'sparkling wine' law

Russia has adopted legislation which will require French producers to attach a label to the back of their bottles sold in Russia with the description “sparkling wine.”

France to drag Russia to WTO over new 'sparkling wine' law-dnm
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Paris, First Published Jul 10, 2021, 3:21 PM IST
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French Champagne producers have been left fuming over a new Russian law that they say tries to undermine their world-famous brand.

While reacting to the Russian government, France Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said that the country would take the issue to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). "In order to fight for our producers, the country will fight with the Russian authorities, on the bilateral and European level, above all the interests of our geographical indications," added the France Foreign Minister Le Drian. On an optimistic note, the minister concluded, "I hope that dialogue will allow us to resolve this problem."

Russia has adopted legislation which will require French producers to attach a label to the back of their bottles sold in Russia with the description “sparkling wine.”

Champagne is a region in the northeast of France, but more famously is the name of the sparkling wine produced there.

Champagne producers are proud of their name and brand and refuse to use any reference to “sparkling wine.”

The same law allows Russian producers of sparkling wine to use “shampanskoye” — the Russian word for Champagne — on their bottles.

Since Soviet times, champagne — “Shampanskoye” in Russian — has been used as a generic term for a wide range of sparkling wines, some of which contradict champagne’s luxury image by selling for as little as 150 rubles ($2) a bottle. “These provisions led to a temporary suspension of deliveries of products to assess the impact of this new law,” Moet-Hennessy spokeswoman Anne Catherine Grimal said.

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