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Australian Wine Move Could Mean Millions

Australian Wine Move Could Mean Millions

The extension of the Australian Wine Equalisation Tax rebate to New Zealand producers was significant for our industry, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Mr Sutton told the Romeo Bragato conference of grapegrowers and winemakers in Gisborne that Australia had put into place the formal arrangements to extend the rebate to eligible New Zealand wine producers who export wine to the Australian market.

The Australian government has budgeted $7 million for the first year in the extension, and $8 million for subsequent years.

"This move will put New Zealand wine producers back on the same footing as their Australian counterparts. The rebate scheme put the New Zealand industry at a serious disadvantage in the Australian market. This will put that right."

The move to extend the rebate to New Zealand came after strong representations from New Zealand ministers that the scheme put Australia out of step with its CER commitments.

Mr Sutton said he was very pleased that the Australian Government is honouring its CER obligations, although some implementation issues had yet to be ironed out.

He said the extension of the WET rebate to New Zealand winemakers was an important issue for New Zealand, and the Government would continue to monitor the scheme's implementation.

Australia is the third most important destination for NZ wine exports and NZ is one of the two top suppliers of imported wines there. Currently around 100 wineries export to Australia and for the year ending 30 June 2004, exports amounted to 5.6 million litres valued at NZ$56.3 million.

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