New EU-Australia wine trade agreement

Tomorrow, September 1st 2010, a new agreement governing the wine trade between Australia and the European Union will enter into force. It is an agreement ment to replace the one signed in 1994. T

he new agreement safeguards the EU’s wine labelling regime, gives full protection to EU geographical indications, including for wines intended for export to third countries, and includes a clear Australian commitment to protect EU traditional expressions. It also provides for the phasing out of the use of a number of important EU names such as Champagne and Port on Australian wines within a year of the agreement coming into force.

Dacian Ciolos, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development said the agreement provides important safeguards for EU wine interests. It ensures the protection of Geographical Indications and traditional expressions for EU wines in Australia and beyond. Australian wine producers will, now on, phase out the use of key EU Geographical Indications and traditional expressions for wine.

The agreement provides for the immediate protection of other EU Geographical Indications for wines. For the use of some terms, phase out periods have been agreed. In particular, Australian producers will not be able to continue the use of important EU names such as Champagne, Port, Sherry and other European geographical indications, along with some traditional expressions such as, Amontillado, Claret, and Auslese from 1 September 2011 onwards, i.e. one year after the entry into force of the agreement.

The new agreement safeguards the EU wine labelling regime, by listing optional particulars which may be used by Australian wines (i.e. an indication of vine varieties, an indication relating to an award, medal or competition, an indication relating to a specific colours, etc.) and by regulating the indication of vine varieties on wine labels.

The new agreement also outlines the conditions for Australian wine producers to continue to use a number of quality wine terms, such as vintage, cream and tawny to describe Australian wines exported to Europe and sold domestically.

The agreement was signed in Brussels on 1 December 2008. The Australian authorities informed the European Union on 27 July 2010 that they had completed their ratification procedures.

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