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Labelling agreement to deliver big savings for wine industry.



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Mr Crean’s office: David Walker 0407 133 020 Mr Burke’s office: Ann-Marie Wilcock 0413 872 275

J O I N T M E D I A R E L E A S E

The Hon Simon Crean MP Minister for Trade

The Hon Tony Burke MP Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Labelling agreement to deliver big savings for wine industry

Wine labelling laws will be harmonised across Australia to cut red tape and save winemakers an estimated $25 million each year in relabelling costs.

Minister for Trade Simon Crean and Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke today announced the Council of Australian Governments had agreed to improve wine labelling requirements.

Many overseas export markets have different requirements for information on alcohol content, volume, product name and country of origin, compared to domestic markets.

Wine makers are forced to pay for separate print runs for different labels, which adds significantly to production costs.

COAG has asked the Ministerial Council on Consumer Affairs to expedite the ratification of the World Wine Trade Group Agreement on Requirements for Wine Labelling.

“This agreement demonstrates the trade benefits of federal-state cooperation on economic regulation,” Mr Crean said.

“It will standardise the display of the four essential labelling requirements, including volume and alcohol percentage.

“This will give our winemakers more flexibility, with a single front display label which will be acceptable in all major export markets as well as the domestic market.”

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke said Australian wine grape growers and producers were facing tough seasonal conditions, a high Australian dollar and more competition from overseas growers.

“These cost savings would help Australian wine producers to compete on the global stage and market our wines effectively to international markets,” Mr Burke said.

“Australia exported 787.2 million litres of wine in 2006-07, worth $2.8 billion, to more than 80 countries including the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Germany.”

The World Wine Trade Group is an informal group of international government and industry representatives with a mutual interest in facilitating trade in wine and protecting consumers. Trade Group markets account for around 40 per cent of Australia’s wine exports.

The agreement was signed by Australia, Argentina, Canada, Chile, New Zealand and the United States on 23 January 2007 in Canberra, and is strongly supported by the Australian wine industry.

Ratifying the agreement in Australia will require an amendment to state and territory regulations.

27 MARCH 2008