France and Russia plan talks to take fizz out of champagne dispute

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France And Russia Plan Talks To Take Fizz Out Of Champagne Dispute
Only local producers in Russia can use 'shampanskoye' on their label, while others must label their product as sparkling wine. Photo: PA Archive/PA Images
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France and Russia have agreed to talks to resolve a dispute over a new Russian law that forces French champagne makers to label their bottles as sparkling wine, the French agriculture ministry said on Saturday.

Since July, all foreign suppliers to Russia must use the description "sparkling wine" on the back of bottles. Only local producers can use the label "shampanskoye" - the Russian equivalent of champagne.

The law outraged French champagne producers, who halted shipments to Russia, and led the French government to threaten action at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

French agriculture minister Julien Denormandie said in a Twitter post he had agreed with Sergey Levin, Russia's deputy agriculture minister, to work towards a solution for the issue.

This would involve setting up a working group comprising officials and industry representatives from both countries, a ministry spokeswoman added.

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The move comes days after French champagne producers, who make sparkling wine from grapes in the Champagne region of northeast France and whose label is protected in many countries, decided to resume exports to Russia.

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