The Agreement between the European Community and the United States of America on trade in wine was concluded by both parties in 2006. The following questions are asked with reference to the negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
To what extent should the provisions of the 2006 EU-USA Wine Agreement be incorporated into the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and to what extent should the two agreements co-exist?
Furthermore, Article 10 of the EU-USA Wine Agreement provided for negotiations on further agreements to facilitate trade in wine. In the Commission’s view, will the TTIP Agreement provide opportunities to address outstanding bilateral wine trade issues, notably:
— protection of European designations of origin,
— cutting the red tape faced by EU wine imports in obtaining market access, inter alia in regard to labelling,
— opening up of all the US states to sale of European wines,
— updating the mutual recognition situation for oenological practices,
— the mutual recognition of organic produce, and
— the removal of further trade tariff barriers, such as for example the elimination of import duties on still and sparkling wine and special tariffs for wine imports?
Answer given by Mr Hogan on behalf of the Commission: The 2006 EU-US Agreement on trade in wine established a stable and predictable legal framework which allowed the EU wine sector to significantly increase its exports to the US in the last decade. The elimination of existing tariffs on all types of wines, which is a key EU objective in the Transtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), should further stimulate the access for EU wines to the US market. In addition, the TTIP negotiating directives adopted by the Council provide that: ‘the Agreement should, where appropriate, review, build on and complement existing sectoral trade agreements, such as the Agreement between the European Community and the United States on trade in wine’. In line with the mandate, the Commission aims at incorporating and improving the existing provisions of the Wine Agreement into TTIP, with a particular focus on the increased protection of the EU wine names listed in Annex II of the EU-US Agreement on trade in wine(1) in order to eliminate the possibility for US wine producers to produce and market wines under these names in the US territory. The Commission has also identified specific non-tariff trade barriers which may constitute a significant obstacle to the EU-US bilateral trade, such as the discriminatory treatment for EU wines with regard to the direct sale to final consumers in some US States (so-called ‘direct shipping’), and is aiming to address these aspects in TTIP. With regard to organic wine, the EU has concluded in 2012 an Arrangement on the equivalence of agricultural organic products. However, as EU and US wines are still subject to the respect of the rules of the destination market, the two sides are currently discussing this important issue and explore possible solutions. (1) The names listed in Annex II are the following: Burgundy, Chablis, Champagne, Chianti, Claret, Haut Sauterne, Hock, Madeira, Malaga, Marsala, Moselle, Port, Retsina, Rhine, Sauterne, Sherry and Tokay.