Home » News » Planting rights and a Europe-USA Agreement: The European Wine-Producing Regions are mobilised and vigilant - Press Release - 19th of March 2014,

Planting rights and a Europe-USA Agreement: The European Wine-Producing Regions are mobilised and vigilant - Press Release - 19th of March 2014,


	
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03/23/2014 | arev

 

 

 

The Assembly of European Wine-Producing Regions held a committee meeting on the 13th and 14th of March in Baranya (Hungary), chaired by Jean-Paul Bachy. Delegations from Germany, Austria, Spain, France, Hungary, Luxembourg, Romania and the Czech Republic participated.

Press Release, 19th of March 2014,

 

Planting rights and a Europe-USA Agreement: The European Wine-Producing Regions are mobilised and vigilant

 

The Assembly of European Wine-Producing Regions held a committee meeting on the 13th and 14th of March in Baranya (Hungary), chaired by Jean-Paul Bachy. Delegations from Germany, Austria, Spain, France, Hungary, Luxembourg, Romania and the Czech Republic participated.

 

Jean-Paul Bachy took stock of the current discussions regarding the drawing up of the implementation regulations on planting authorisations. Faced with the risk of destabilisation of the markets and the calling into question of the traditional appellation systems linking the quality of wines with their geographical origins, AREV, with the support of the European Parliament, has successfully taken a stand. But constant vigilance will be necessary in order to preserve the advances we have made over the past months, advances that have enabled us to find an effective compromise between the defence of the territories and the dynamic of the global wine market.  

 

The AREV delegates also discussed the recently opened negotiations on the free trade agreement between the European Union and the USA. Their resolution (discussed below) demands that the negotiations take full account of the views and interests of the European wine producers.         

 

Within the context of the ongoing development of European regulations, the debates also enabled the member regions of AREV to discover the Anaxagore programme, which is supported by the IAR cluster (Industries and Agro Resources cluster based in Picardy and Champagne-Ardenne), which offers to recycle by-products of the vine.  “Intelligent biochemical use of the by-products of the vine is as essential for the economy as it is for the environment”, stresses Jean-Paul Bachy.

 

AREV wants to pursue its exploration of the wine tourism concept, a key lever for economic development, added value and attractiveness for its territories.      

 

EU-USA free trade agreements: Not like that!       

 

In light of the disappointing experience of the bilateral wine trade agreement between the EU and the USA, finalised by the Commission in 2005, which was already a step backwards compared with other bilateral agreements, and of which the second phase is still not completed, the European winemaking organisations urgently ask the Commission to take their specific demands into account. Before any other considerations, these organisations insist on drawing attention to the illusory nature of any free trade agreement subject to the erratic fluctuations of the Euro-Dollar monetary parity, varying as it does according to the political opportunities and strategies of the world’s most globalised currency. No one is likely to forget the distortions of competition in the Common Market prior to the introduction of the European Currency Snake. In this respect, the rate improvements or the removal of customs duties represent a negligible advantage when compared with the perverse effects of the unilateral manipulations of the exchange rate.

 

The organisations belonging to AREV also stress that in view of the low level of reciprocal tariff protection currently in force in the winemaking sector, customs duties are not the central issue in these negotiations.  The harmonisation between Europe and the United States must therefore essentially concern the standards and regulations, whether these are legal, financial, sanitary, environmental, cultural etc. 

 

 

For the winemaking sector, it is the more ambitious European standards (dependent upon those of the OIV) that risk being sacrificed, insofar as the USA left the OIV in 2001, precisely because the Americans did not wish to bind themselves to the standards established and observed by its 45 member States.  The stakes are therefore particularly high for the European winemaking model.

 

 

At the proposal of Jean-Paul Bachy, president of AREV, the European signatory winemaking organisations therefore demand that the Commission and its negotiators for the wine industry sector make their signature conditional on the obtainment of the permanent abolition of the US practice, both on the internal and export markets, of using the so-called “semi-generic” indications of European geographical, which concern in particular the following French appellations: Burgundy, Champagne, Chablis, Sauterne.

They also want the USA to permanently cease using the following traditional European indications, both on the internal and export markets: château, classic, clos, cream, crusted/crusting, fine, late bottled vintage, noble, ruby, superior, sur lie, tawny, vintage and vintage character, and the names of grape varieties limited to European wines on the labels of American wines marketed in the European Union.                   

They also demand an obligation for the USA to guarantee respect for the European winemaking practices recognised by the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) for all their wines exported to the European markets, an exemption from the Certificate of Label Approval (COLA) for European wines, and the recognition of European organic wines in accordance with regulations (EU) 834/2007 and 889/2008.

 

In this regard, the members of the AREV committee draw attention to the fact that the European Commission and the OIV have recently expressed serious criticism to the American ICANN organisation (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) concerning the attribution of new “.wine” or “.vin” generic top-level domains without any protection of the geographical indications or objection procedure.

 

 

In general terms, an agreement with the USA would completely call into question the goal of developing European agriculture towards more sustainable models, in economic, social and environmental terms. It would accelerate the process of concentrating operations, drastically reduce the number of jobs in the agricultural sector and massively increase unemployment, the deterioration of the environment and biodiversity, and would put an end to the goal of setting up short circuits between producers and consumers.

 

In view of the proliferation of bilateral and inter-regional agreements, which weaken the multilateral systems of the World Trade Organisation WTO, the OIV, and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), the signatory organisations consider that without American concessions at the WTO on the aspects of intellectual property rights relating to trade (ADPIC) and without the return of the USA to the OIV (definition of wine, winemaking practices), any progress regarding the above points will be doomed to failure. They urgently ask the Commission, which aspires to special status within the OIV, to show consistency and not call into question the recommendations and fundamental principles of such important international organisations as the WTO, the OIV and the OMPI (amongst others the clause concerning the most favoured nation and the settling of disputes). At stake is the credibility of Europe and the maintaining of its influence on the establishment of regulations, norms and international standards – without mentioning the risk of triggering retaliation from countries outside the EU that are excluded from these agreements, as well as the other regional commercial groupings.

Beyond commercial exchanges, the signatory organisations categorically reject the two other components of the negotiations, i.e. the “Protection of foreign investors” and the “Settling of disputes by a special court”, which sanctions the transfer of part of the sovereignty of the Member States to the private sector and the primacy of commercial law: these two components lead to a fundamental modification of the Treaty of the European Union and to an abandonment of the sovereignty of the States. Any mechanism for the settling of disputes (ORD) must imperatively conform to the WTO’s mechanism for the settling model (ORD), to which only sovereign States may refer, based on their national constitution, the European Treaties and the rights of man.

 

Press contact: Valérie Bridard 06 84 80 11 48, Dominique Janin 49 1729 50 06 47.

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