There have been a number of reports in recent weeks regarding the “breakdown” in the Australia -European Union (EU) Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations. While both Australia and the EU had been publicly aiming to finalise the agreement by mid-2023, this urgency has recently been tempered.
This is because the EU has continued to hold a very tough negotiating position on a range of agricultural commodities, including wine, that present very little by way of benefit to the Australian agricultural sector. While Trade Minister Farrell and Agriculture Minister Watt have both recently visited the EU intending to finalise the deal, the EU’s failure to offer meaningful benefit to Australian agriculture has significantly slowed progress.
For wine, the FTA presents more risk than possible benefit. The contentious issue of Prosecco remains a stalemate for negotiators, with Australia continuing to maintain its position on the rights of Australian producers to continue to use the grape variety term.
While Australian Grape & Wine is supportive of free trade in general, we won’t support a deal that is not in the interests of the Australian wine sector. We would be supportive of the Australian Government withdrawing from this agreement if it is not in the interests of wine and broader Australian agriculture.
Australian Grape & Wine is continuing its ongoing advocacy efforts directly with government in the interest of the sector and have also recently joined a group of other Agricultural commodities to discuss the FTA and align our advocacy efforts.