The European Wine Companies Committee (CEEV) underlines the importance of trade relationships with the United States and calls for a further-reaching TTIP.
Brussels, 7th May 2014 – The 2005 bilateral agreement on wine between the European Union and the United States allowed to considerably increase the exports of EU wines towards the United States, but left however some issues unsolved. The TTIP negotiations are an opportunity to look deeper into them.
Between 2005 and 2012, the EU wine sector trade surplus towards the US increased by 87% in volume and by 30% in value (Eurostat), which represents for 2013 more that €2,5 billion, (i.e. 28% of the total EU exports to Third Countries).
However, some issues could not be solved through this agreement, including semi-generics. The TTIP, by enlarging the discussion to other sectors faced with the same problems, may offer lines of approach that are worth investigating.
Tariff elimination is an important issue, first in terms of consistency with other negotiations opened by the EU, but also because it would lead to a significant simplification of customs clearing procedures, which incur high costs.
“The USA currently represent the world’s first market in terms of wine consumption and they are considering agreements with other wine producing countries. In this framework, the EU wine sector should not settle for a conservative and defensive approach, but quite the opposite, adopt an offensive position in order to maintain – if not increase – its market shares and commercial outlets. We should look forward, not backwards”, said Jean-Marie Barillère, President of CEEV.
Recent examples such as South Korea or Canada have shown that the EU wine sector is making significant progress in terms of tariffs, market access and GI protection, without giving up the excellence of its model.
“Considering the downward trend of wine consumption in the EU, the future of our sector lies in its exports.” added José Ramon Fernandez, Secretary General of CEEV. “If we want to preserve the EU wine model, its diversity and it richness, we are to be ambitious when negotiating trade agreements, and in particular with the USA.”
Note to editors:
The Comité Européen des Entreprises Vins (CEEV – www.ceev.eu represents the wine companies in the industry and trade in the European Union: still wines, sparkling wines, liqueur wines, aromatised wines and other vine products. It brings together 24 national organisations. With more than 7.000 companies, mainly SMEs, and more than 200.000 direct jobs in the EU, its members produce and market the vast majority of quality European wines, with and without a geographical indication, and account for over 90% of European wine exports. In 2013, with around 8,9 billion € worth of exports, the wine sector made a contribution of over 6,5 billion € to the EU trade balance.