Minister for Trade and Tourism, the Hon Don Farrell has acknowledged publicly Australia’s intentions to finalise the Australia-European Union Free Trade Agreement (A-EUFTA) in a timely fashion, aiming for completion by the first half of 2023.
There are a number of issues of importance in this FTA negotiation including tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade. These are all progressing and in particular the non-tariff barriers to trade are being dealt with outside of the FTA negotiations through the Joint Standing Committee (JSC) for the Australia-EU Agreement on Trade in Wine (EU Wine Agreement). Australian Grape & Wine was in Brussels in November 2022 with the Australian Government, supporting discussions of the JSC EU Wine Agreement seeking undertake work to further liberalise wine trade between the two countries.
However, Geographic Indication protection and in particular for wine, Prosecco remains the one of, if not the most contentious, of the negotiation points. The Australian Government continues to maintain its position that Prosecco is a grape variety, however the EU also asserts that without agreement on GI protection there will be no FTA.
Recent efforts by Australian Grape & Wine and Australian Prosecco producers to raise the profile of Prosecco in Parliament and in publics eye were no mistake. These very deliberate efforts commencing in the third quarter of 2022 have been timed to coincide with the final stages of FTA negotiation and were made to mitigate the risk of Australian producers’ legitimate rights to the grape variety being traded off as a bargaining chip. Ongoing efforts to continue to maintain this pressure towards the final stages of negotiation will be a priority for Australian Grape & Wine in 2023.