Australian Grape & Wine has commended the “resolve” of Federal Trade Minister Don Farrell for walking away from negotiations on a free trade deal with the European Union.
Mr Farrell met with European Commission executive vice president Valdis Dombrovskis in Japan this week to progress outstanding issues in the negotiations.
The EU wants Australia to stop using place names such as feta and Prosecco.
“We are fully supportive of the Australian Government’s decision to step away from ongoing negotiations rather than accept a deal that is not in the interest of Australian Prosecco producers or the broader agricultural sector,” chief executive Lee McLean says.
“Any outcome that sought to reduce our existing market access would be detrimental to our burgeoning Prosecco industry and contrary to the intent of a free trade agreement which seeks to increase market access and remove trade barriers.
“Australian Prosecco producers just want to retain the right to use ‘prosecco’ as a grape variety in both our domestic and international markets.
“We commend the unwavering efforts of Minister Farrell, Minister Watt, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, and the experienced team of negotiators from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade who have tirelessly dedicated themselves to these negotiations.
“We encourage their continued dialogue with the EU to seek a mutually beneficial solution that will enhance opportunities for both European and Australian markets.”
Prosecco production in Australia is valued at $200 million a year.
“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,” McLean says.
“Any deal that undermines this right will result in a detrimental setback for the Australian wine industry.”
Mr Farrell has previously said, “I have made it very clear Australia will not sign a deal for the sake of it, and I meant it.”