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Wine treaty welcomed

25 February 2005

Wine treaty welcomed

A new treaty cutting unnecessary regulatory barriers to international wine trade for New Zealand winemakers has been welcomed by Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton.

Mr Sutton said the new treaty, agreed by the World Wine Trade Group, would give New Zealand exporters certainty about winemaking practices they can use for export wine. It would also minimise their certification costs.

It's the first treaty agreed by the World Wine Trade Group ? government and wine industry representatives from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, America, Chile, and Argentina ? since it was formed seven years ago.

Mr Sutton said member countries had a common interest to facilitate trade and keep international wine markets accessible.

He said that New Zealand and the other parties to the treaty have agreed to accept each other's regulation of winemaking practices.

"The treaty offers real commercial benefits to New Zealand producers. Just under 50 percent of our wine exports go to these six countries, and that will increase. The treaty will facilitate and protect access for those exports.

"The treaty is open to other countries prepared to meet the mutual acceptance and trade facilitation objectives. It's an excellent outcome to negotiations that began in Queenstown five years ago."

Members are now meeting in Auckland to negotiate an agreement on wine labelling, also important to our wine industry as labelling requirements can be used as a barrier to trade.

Mr Sutton said New Zealand exporters currently had to print a different label for every market. Using a standard label on exports would cut costs, estimated to save US$1 per case.

ENDS

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