Brussels, 10 March 2006
The European Union and the United States today in London signed a bilateral wine accord which will bring major benefits for EU wine producers. The agreement, which was approved by EU agriculture ministers in December 2005, follows 20 years of negotiation. It will help EU winemakers to build on their current success in the US, which is by far the EU’s largest export market. Annual EU wine exports to the US are worth more than 2 billion euros, around 40 percent of EU exports in terms of value. This agreement provides a clear demonstration that the US and the EU can resolve important and complex issues through bilateral negotiations and both sides are committed to doing so in the future. The EU and US will start talks within 90 days on a more ambitious second-phase agreement.
“I’m delighted that this agreement can finally enter into force, and I raise my glass to the negotiators for their efforts,” said Mariann Fischer Boel, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development. “This deal will facilitate access for EU wines to the lucrative US market, where consumers greatly appreciate the quality and long history behind our wines. In today’s increasingly competitive market place, it is vital that there are no unnecessary and burdensome barriers for our winemakers, who I believe are the best in the world. The EU attaches great importance to the proper protection of its geographical indications abroad.”
Negotiators from the EU and US finally reached agreement at the end of last summer and the agreement was initialled in Washington on 14 September 2005.
The main elements of the agreement are: