INDEPENDENT NEWS

Minister welcomes signing of wine agreement

Published: Thu 20 Dec 2001 10:27 AM
Minister welcomes signing of wine agreement
The New World wine agreement, signed today in Canada, would protect the expanding international wine trade from unnecessary regulatory barriers,Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said today.
The treaty, negotiated by a group of government and industry representatives from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the United States, Argentina, Chile and South Africa - countries with a shared interest in keeping international wine markets open - provides for the mutual acceptance by its parties of each other's regulatory requirements on oenological (wine making) practices.
The five countries that signed it this morning our time - New Zealand, Australia, Chile, the US and Canada - will now embark on their respective domestic approval procedures to ratify the agreement, which will enter into force as soon as two of them have done so.
Mr Sutton said he hoped the other countries represented at the Toronto meeting will also be able to sign it before long.
"This treaty will facilitate and protect overseas market access for New Zealand wine exports. It is a very satisfactory outcome to the negotiations that began at a meeting in Queenstown I hosted nearly two years ago."
He said the Agreement, which is open to any country willing to abide by its obligations, would assist the New Zealand wine industry's continued impressive export performance while maintaining appropriate health and safety assurances for consumers and regulators. The industry has been fully involved from the start in the negotiations that led to the agreement.
"The fact that different countries produce wines differently should not be an obstacle to trade, and once in force this agreement will ensure that among its parties. Thus I intend to table it shortly in the House for parliamentary scrutiny by the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee.
"I commend the Agreement to all wine-producing countries and invite them to become parties to it alongside New Zealand."
ENDS

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