By Andy Young

Australian winemakers have welcomed the new Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which has been signed following five years of intense negotiations.

The deal involves 12 Pacific rim countries, including the US, Canada, Mexico and Japan and should present key growth opportunities for many Australian wine producers.

Tariffs will be eliminated on wine exports to Canada, Malaysia and Vietnam and phased out over the next 10 years on wine exports to Mexico and Peru. Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull described the deal as a "gigantic foundation stone for our future prosperity".

Australian winemakers also welcomed the deal, with Victor De Bortoli, executive director of De Bortoli Wines telling TheShout the TPP is another opportunity for Australian winemakers to become more competitive internationally.

“In addition to improved export market access that’s been achieved through the Japan, China and Korea Free Trade Agreements, the Trans-Pacific Partnership is good news for Australian wine makers,” De Bortoli said. 

“Anything that helps to facilitate trade is welcome, especially given the challenges facing Australian winemakers.

“De Bortoli Wines is trading in most of the TPP countries, so we’re hopeful that this partnership will help to improve our competitiveness, particularly against wine regions that may already be benefiting from low or no import tariffs.

“The agreement is great timing for De Bortoli Wines, as we are receiving a lot of international recognition for our Yarra Valley and Riverina produced wines. Hopefully this agreement will enable our partners to invest more in marketing our key export brands of Yarra Valley Estate Grown, Noble One, Regional Reserve and the DB Family Selection to these countries.”

Treasury Wine Estates also welcomed the deal, with the company’s corporate affairs director, Roger Sharp, saying: "As one of the world’s largest winemakers and a proud Australian exporter, TWE welcomes the tariff eliminations negotiated in the TPP. Wine tariff reductions in Mexico, Vietnam, Malaysia, Canada and Peru provide immense opportunities for Australian winemakers, regardless of their size. TWE is the leading Australian exporter of wine to Asia, and within that region, Malaysia and Vietnam are both important markets. 

"Mexico is also an exciting growth market for our business, being the second largest imported wine market in Latin America. Tariff reductions will be essential to ensuring the Australian wine industry’s ongoing competitiveness with other export countries, many of whom have lower input and production costs, and greater direct Government support.  The phasing out of tariffs for wine under the TPP are both welcome and significant for TWE."

Accolade Wines, agreed that the new deal has the potential to be advantageous, a spokesperson for the company told TheShout: "Our position is that while we haven't yet gone over the detail in the TPP it offers an opportunity for the Australian wine industry to compete on a level playing field, significantly reducing tariffs in key markets. 

For example Canada, which is a key Australian market, valued at around $174 million a year, currently has tariffs of between $1.87c/litre and $4.68c/litre. Scaling back those tariffs, which will happen immediately on ratification in Canada's case, will naturally be an advantage for us."

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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