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Resolution Remich (Luxembourg) - 10th of May 2014

Monday 19 May 2014

Le 19 May 2014 -

On the following pages: you will find the entire resolution as it was adopted, as well as the complete motion regarding the flavescence dorée issue.

 

The European Wine and Vine representatives have unanimously adopted the following resolution, entitled: 

EU-USA free trade agreements (PTCI/TTIP): Not like that!

Wine is the single most important agricultural export from the EU

PREFACE

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, AREV urgently asks the Commission to take their specific demands into account in the bilateral free trade negotiations that are currently under way with the USA.  In this matter they also call upon the Council and the Parliament, and warn them against the dismantling of the EU legislative and regulatory mechanisms concerning agriculture and winemaking, which are the fruit of decades of intra-European negotiations.

Before any other considerations, AREV insists 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. Unlike the kinds of industrial production that may be relocated, the European vineyards are immutably linked to the Euro zone.

TARIFF ISSUES

AREV also stresses 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 transatlantic harmonisation 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 International Organisation of Vine and Wine - OIV) that risk being sacrificed, as obstacles to free competition, insofar as the USA left the OIV in 2001 to found the World Wine Trade Group, precisely because they did not wish to bind themselves to the standards established and observed by the 45 member States of the OIV.  The stakes are therefore particularly high for the European and world winemaking model.

REGULATORY ISSUES

AREV therefore demands 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 17 so-called “semi-generic” indications of European geographical origin listed below, even when accompanied by such expressions as “style” or “type” etc.: Burgundy, Chablis, Champagne, Chianti, Claret, Haut-Sauterne, Hock, Madeira, Malaga, Marsala, Moselle, Port, Retsina, Rhine, Sauterne, Sherry and Tokaj,

- of the permanent abolition of the US  practice, both on the internal and export markets, of using the following traditional European indications: château, classic, clos, cream, crusted/crusting, fine, late bottled vintage, noble, ruby, superior, sur lie, tawny, vintage and vintage character,

- of 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,

- of exemption from the Certificate of Label Approval (COLA) for European wines,

- of recognition of European “organic wines” in accordance with Regulations (EC) No 834/2007 and 889/2008.

GOVERNANCE OF THE INTERNET FOR GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATIONS

Bearing in mind that it is the World Trade Organisation (WTO) that manages the agreement concerning the trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights (ADPIC/TRIPS), which deals with the protection of geographical origins (Articles 22 and 23), AREV draws attention to the fact that the European Commission, the European Parliament 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.  In this regard, it demands that the unilateral American governance of the internet should be urgently re-evaluated, and should evolve towards greater multilateralism, especially regarding procedures for objections and appeals.

ABANDONMENT OF EUROPEAN OBJECTIVES

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. On the contrary, it would accelerate the process of concentrating operations, thus maintaining minimal competitiveness; it would drastically reduce the number of jobs in the agricultural sector and massively increase unemployment, the desertification of rural areas, the deterioration of the environment and biodiversity, and would put an end to the goal of setting up short circuits between producers and consumers.

ABANDONMENT OF MULTILATERAL OBJECTIVES

In view of the proliferation of bilateral and inter-regional agreements, which weaken the multilateral systems of the WTO, the OIV, and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), AREV considers that without American respect for the WTO’s ADPIC/TRIPS agreements 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.

ABANDONMENT OF SOVEREIGNTY: A MECHANISM FOR THE SETTLING OF DISPUTES

Beyond commercial exchanges, AREV categorically rejects 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.

 

harmonisation of the methods adopted to combat flavescence dorée

Flavescence dorée is a contagious disease of the vine with disastrous agricultural consequences, transmitted by the insect known as a leafhopper.

Given that flavescence dorée is a known and recognised sanitary problem in numerous regions of Europe,

given that this disease represents a significant threat to the future of wine production throughout Europe, the  AREV, meeting in plenary session held on the 9th of May 2014, has decided to create a technical exchange group in order to obtain from the European Commission the resources necessary to harmonise the control methods used to prevent and treat the disease, both on the vines in production and in the nursery.

To this end, the senior members at the AREV are called upon to propose a resolution to be presented at the next Bureau meeting.

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