World Trade Organisation (WTO) Trade Negotiation Rounds

The FEVS has always been a strong supporter of multilateral trade negotiations that take place within the WTO framework. These discussions offer an opportunity to encourage the maximum number of countries (153 members today) to liberalise access to their markets and to take full advantage of the possibilities international trade offers their economies.

As an export-focused industry, we hope to take a proactive position for wines and spirits and achieve positive results through these negotiations.

The current round of WTO negotiations, which began in 2001 in Doha, Qatar, remain bogged down despite efforts by major countries (European Union, USA, Australia, Brazil) and the energy brought to the table by the European negotiator and the WTO Director-General. Given the arrival of a new American administration for which international trade issues are not a current priority, it is unlikely that the current round will end favourably before 2011, at the earliest. (For the FEVS position - see the Initiatives/News section)


European Union Free Trade Agreements

Along with multilateral negotiations, the FEVS has been pragmatic in its bilateral negotiations between the European Union and countries or areas important to wine and spirits exports. The FEVS makes great efforts to have our industry recognised as a priority in these negotiations. Among negotiations currently under way:

  • Negotiations with South Korea concluded favourably for wines and spirits in July 2009. When the agreement enters into force, there will be an immediate elimination of customs tariffs for imported wine, the dissolution of tariffs for spirits within 3 to 5 years, and an improvement on the protection of geographical indications for European wines and spirits. We hope European Union member states and the European Parliament validate and ratify this agreement to allow for a rapid entry into force.

  • Discussions with India have always been difficult and are unlikely to conclude in the near future. For the wine and spirit industry, the priority here remains to obtain a substantial reduction in consolidated customs tariffs, which presently stand at 150% for spirits and wine.

  • Negotiations with ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) members are progressing rather slowly due to the considerable diversity of the region. We support the new bilateral approach which will be carried out in certain countries (Singapore, Vietnam, and Thailand).

  • Bilateral negotiations with Ukraine began in 2008 after its accession to the WTO. We hope to achieve a reinforcement of the protection of our geographical indications, notably the elimination of certain indications such as Champagne and Cognac which are considered "generic" in Ukraine, as well as a reduction or elimination of customs tariffs.

  • Finally, the European Commission has begun negotiations with Latin America, with both the Andean Community of Nations (CAN), of which Colombia is a central figure, as well as with Central American countries, although discussions here have been held up.

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