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Danone and Chinese partner Wahaha agree to suspend lawsuits and start 'peace talks'

Danone and Chinese partner Wahaha agree to suspend lawsuits and start 'peace talks'

French food and beverage maker Groupe Danone SA and its Chinese joint venture partner Wahaha have agreed to "peace talks" in a bid to end a bitter dispute over rights to the popular Wahaha brand name, Danone said.
"Complying with the expectation of both Chinese and French governments, both Wahaha Group and Groupe Danone agree to finish antagonism and return back to peace talks," the Paris-based company said in a statement Friday.
"Both parties agree to temporarily suspend all lawsuits and arbitrations, stop all aggressive and hostile statements and create a friendly environment for peace talks."
The standoff, one of the most contentious public squabbles between a foreign company and its Chinese counterpart, centers over the rights to the Wahaha brand _ one of the country's best known labels for bottled water and other soft drinks.
The French company has accused Wahaha's founder, Zong Qinghou, of privately producing and selling Wahaha joint venture products on the side, saying that violates their original joint venture agreement set in 1996.
Both parties have agreed to work together to develop the Wahaha brands and to "strive for the success of peace talks," Danone said.
Wahaha's labor union said earlier this month it was suing Danone for 10 million yuan (US$1.4 million; euro960,000) in damages.
The union's move was announced after Danone said it was suspending court proceedings against Wahaha and urged the Chinese side to take "concrete" moves toward reconciliation.


Updated : 2021-04-15 07:35 GMT+08:00