Minister urged to hold firm on Prosecco

Australian Grape & Wine CEO Lee McLean has called on the Australian Government to stand firm in safeguarding the rights of Australian grapegrowers and winemakers to continue their use of the grape variety name Prosecco. This call comes as the Minister for Trade, Senator Don Farrell, continues trade talks with the European Union on the sidelines of the G7 Trade Ministers’ meeting in Osaka.

“The Albanese Government must protect the rights of Australian wine producers to use prosecco as a grape variety name, whether it’s at home or abroad,” said McLean.

“Any deal that undermines this right will result in a detrimental setback for the Australian wine industry.

“As the industry continues to suffer from crippling trade disruptions, the global pandemic and various weather events in recent years, the growth of the prosecco has been a shining light and lifeline for so many Australian producers.

“The Australian wine industry wholeheartedly supports expanded trade through free trade agreements that provide commercial benefit and meaningful market access for the Australian wine industry.

“The previous round of negotiations stalled following proposals from the European Union on agricultural products, including wine, that fell far short of industry expectations.

“We urge Minister Farrell to continue to maintain a strong position against these proposals from the European Union that are not in the best interest of Australia’s agriculture and wine industries.

“The Albanese Government should not rush into a deal that is not in the best interests of Australia’s wine producers and exports. Put simply, no deal is better than a bad deal.

“The Australian wine industry has significantly more to lose than it stands to gain from this trade agreement as it currently stands.  Prosecco has grown rapidly, with annual production valued at $200 million a year. Any deal that places constraints on our existing market access would reduce this value, limit future growth, stifle innovation and contradict the very purpose of a free trade agreement.”

“We have been working with the Albanese Government on this trade agreement for many years and there is no reason to seek to rush it through now if it isn’t in the best interests of our wine sector and the broader agricultural industry,” McLean concluded.

European agreement labelled “a bad deal” for Victorian farmers

Also on the table at the G7 meeting is the Australian-European Free Trade Agreement, which the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) has labelled “a bad deal for Victorian agriculture”, warning the Albanese Government not to sign the agreement.

VFF President Emma Germano urged Trade Minister Don Farrell to withhold signing the agreement at the G7 Trade Minister’s Meeting, unless the deal offers significantly improved conditions for Victorian farmers.

“This is a dud deal with Victorian farmers being asked to give up a lot, whilst receiving little in return.”

“The deal on the table doesn’t offer commercially meaningful market access and seeks to put unfair restrictions on what we produce at home,” said Germano.

“Victoria is the nation’s largest agricultural exporter. Our food and fibre exports are valued at over $17.9 billion and are critical to Victorian economy as a whole, particularly our regional economy.”

“Agriculture must be front and centre of the government’s negotiations, and if Minister Farrell is unable to secure a sound deal for us, he should keep the signing pen in his pocket,” Germano said

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