Market diversification has been the key focus for Australian Grape & Wine in recent months. A major part of this is the development and implementation of short, medium and long-term strategies to remove trade barriers and improve market access. We have been working on outlining key trade barriers and market access priorities as part of our application for additional resources under the Federal Government Agribusiness Expansion Initiative (noted previously). These priorities include activities such as technical cooperation, Free Trade Agreement negotiations, improved tracking and ability to address emerging trade barriers, addressing barriers though international forums (such as OIV, WWTG, APEC and CODEX) as well as addressing specific trade barrier risks and opportunities across priority markets. We will continue to update as these efforts progress with Government.
European Union (EU) Organic regulatory amendments
On 21 May 2021, the EU notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) TBT committee G/TBT/N/EU/802 of Draft Commission Implementing Regulation, laying down certain rules concerning the certificate issued to operators, groups of operators and exporters in third countries involved in the imports of organic products into the EU, and establishing the list of recognised control authorities and control bodies.
It is unclear if this regulation is seeking to introduce a new certificate, or replacing an existing one – either of which has potential to add cost and confusion. It also references the creation of a new list of control bodies from the exporting countries, which may also be of concern.
We are currently seeking input from organic certifiers and international industry contacts and will raise with the Australian Government for comment if required. Organic exporters to Europe are encouraged to review the regulation and contact Damien Griffante (firstname.lastname@example.org ) with any feedback.
The fourth round of Australia-UK FTA negotiations took place during February and March, concluding on 5 March 2021. On 22 and 23 April 2021, Australian Trade Minister Tehan met with UK Secretary of State Truss and agreed to step up negotiations and hold weekly discussions, with a view to announcing an ‘in-principle agreement’ on these negotiations, by the Prime Minsters at the June G7 Summit, scheduled for 11-13 June 2021.
What an “in principle” agreement means in actuality remains unclear, however the key issues for wine, as outlined in previous notices, remain under negotiation throughout the discussions. In addition, similarly to the EU FTA negotiations, Australia has initiated engagement with the UK on the UK Wine Agreement via Joint Standing Committee (JSC) meetings. Meetings of the Australia-UK JSC were held in May and will continue in parallel with FTA negotiations, as a means of open dialogue for improved market access and removing barriers to trade in wine with the UK.
Vietnam Additive approval
Australian Grape & wine has been working for several years with Vietnamese authorities and the Australian Government to have a number of legal additives approved for use in Australia, also approved for use in Vietnam. Following some initial success in late 2019, there remained seven key wine additives which were not included within the approved list of approved additives.
Following bilateral exchanges during 2020 with the Vietnamese authorities, we received written confirmation that the remaining seven additives are now allowable for grape wine at the corresponding limits, listed in Annex 2B to Circular 24/2019. These additives are listed below:
|Name of additives / Ten phu gia||INS||ML (mg/kg) (maximum level)|
|Sodium carboxymethyl cellulose||466||100|
Please refer to Wine Australia Export Market Guide for Vietnam for all guidance on exporting wine to Vietnam.
As noted in previous updates, Australian Grape & Wine has been working with Prosecco importers and exporters to Singapore to lodge evidence in opposition to an application to protect the term Prosecco as a GI in Singapore. On 9 April 2021, the hearing for this case was held.
On 5 May 2021, we were advised of the outcome of the hearing and the Registrars determination. While the Registrar agreed with our arguments that the term “Prosecco” was the name of a plant variety, it was of the view that the registration of the same as a GI is not likely to mislead the consumer. The Registrar also found that the term “Prosecco” satisfied the definition of a GI. The Registrar specifically refused to make a determination on “whether grape growers and winemakers in Australia represented by the Opponent (Australian Grape & Wine) can continue to use “Prosecco” on their wines in the course of their trade.”
We are currently seeking the full grounds for the decision (expected to be provided within 4 to 6 months) before giving consideration to any need for an appeal to the final determination.