Adoption of the EU/Australia Agreement on trade in wine

The Official Journal of the European Union has published on January, 30th 2009 a Council Decision on the conclusion of the Agreement between the European Community and Australia on trade in wine, which will replace the previous 1994 Agreement, aiming to facilitate and promote wine trade between the Community and Australia.

On October 23rd 2008, the Council authorised the Commission to negotiate a new Agreement on trade in wine between the Community and Australia after the Commission's proposal for a new text replacing the 1994 Agreement. According to the signed Agreement the Contracting Parties agree, on the basis of non-discrimination and reciprocity, to facilitate and promote trade in wine originating in the Community and in Australia on the provided conditions.

The Agreement applies to wines falling under heading 22.04 of the Harmonized System of the International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity, Description and Coding System, done at Brussels on June 14th 1983.

General Rules for EU/Australia wine trade

According to the adopted Agreements, and unless otherwise specified, importation and marketing of wine will be conducted in compliance with the laws and regulations applying in the territory of the importing Contracting Party.

The Contracting Parties will therefore take the necessary measures to ensure that the obligations laid down by the Agreement are fulfilled. They will ensure that the objectives set out are attained.

The Agreement provides rules on:

  • Oenological practices and processes and compositional requirements for wine
  • Protection of wine names and related provisions on description and presentation
  • Specific provisions on presentation and description
  • Certification requirements

The Agreement also establishes that Contracting Parties may by mutual consent amend this Agreement in order to enhance the level of cooperation in the wine sector, with the agreement to initiate consultations with a view to harmonising rules on wine labelling requirements.

Existing EU and Australian wine stocks

Wines which, at the time of entry into force of the Agreement or at the end of the relevant transitional periods provided for, have been legally produced, described and presented in a manner prohibited by the Agreement, may be marketed under the following conditions:

  • Where the wine has been produced using one or more oenological practices or processes not referred to in Annex I of the Agreement, the wines may be marketed until stocks are exhausted.
  • Where wines are described and presented using terms prohibited by the Agreement, the wines may be marketed:
  1. By wholesalers: a.) for liqueur wines, for a period of five years; b.) for other wines, for a period of three years.
  2. By retailers until stocks are exhausted.

This Agreement will enter into force on the first day of the second month after the date on which the Contracting Parties have notified each other in writing that their respective requirements for the entry into force of this Agreement have been complied with.