With less than one year of the Barroso II Commission’s mandate left, the
European wine industry met in Brussels today to take stock of the EU Trade Policy achievements to date
and challenges ahead for this sector, which is the biggest EU agricultural exporter – with annual exports
amounting to €8.9 billion, the EU Wine industry contributes a surplus of €6.4 billion to the EU balance
of trade (2012).
Over the last years the EU has embarked on a myriad bilateral negotiations to achieve free trade
agreements with third countries. Among the 15 priority markets that are relevant for EU wine exports
(see Notes to Editors), the EU has concluded agreements only with South Korea (in force since 1 July
2011) Singapore (concluded in December 2012), Central America, and Colombia – Peru (2012-2013); all
the other negotiations have not been concluded yet.
In the meantime EU wine exporters are continuously facing the proliferation of unilateral protectionist
barriers in key export markets. These are often part of recovery packages or unjustified retaliatory
practices, with discriminatory impacts on European wines.
As a result, the current prospects for the growth of European wine exports are problematic.
Prohibitive import tariffs are still in place in India and Vietnam; our products still face discriminatory
treatment in Canada and Thailand; endless bureaucratic barriers in Russia; major markets such as the
US fail to give sufficient protection to geographical indications (GIs). Last but not least, our products
have been taken hostage of bilateral tensions between the EU and China, with the launch of an
unjustified retaliatory antidumping investigation this summer.
“The potential for our exports to these key markets is jeopardized by protectionist policies that need to
be tackled through more vigorous political and diplomatic efforts and ambitious trade negotiations, with
a focus on true priority issues and markets,” declared Jean-Marie Barillère, President of CEEV.
“The instrumentalisation of the wine sector in trade disputes, as is currently the case with China, is
particularly regrettable at a time of global economic turmoil. Our sector needs the determined support
of the European Commission and the Member States at the highest political level. We urge the
Commission to look without delay for a political solution to a trade dispute that has political roots, and
to solve trade tensions through stepped up dialogue and negotiation, concluded Mr Barillère.