World Wine Trade Group Signs Agreement on Harmonized Wine Label
February 9, 2007 - The World Wine Trade Group (WWTG) signed the Agreement on the Requirements for Wine Labelling in Canberra, Australia on January 23, which will enable wine exporters to sell wine into WWTG markets without having to redesign their labels for each individual market. This far-reaching agreement allows a label to be created with common mandatory elements (product description, country of origin, net content, and alcohol percentage) in a single field of vision that will be acceptable in all WWTG signatory countries—Chile, Argentina, the U.S., New Zealand, Australia, and Canada. This harmonized label will also be acceptable in the European Union. Canada will still maintain its dual language requirement. National mandatory information, such as warning labels and sulfite statements, will still be required but could be on another label.
Most countries will require legislative changes to implement the agreement. The U.S. will announce a minimal technical adjustment that will liberalize the placement of the alcohol statement.
The Agreement will help reduce costs relating to the production, application and warehousing of labels. Savings achieved by this Agreement will provide a competitive advantage and opportunities for further export growth to WWTG participants. Since the inception of the WWTG in 1998, the group's global market share of wine exports has risen over 70 percent to almost a quarter of global exports in 2005. The Agreement also brings benefits to consumers who will be able to easily locate important items of information on the bottle in a single field of vision, allowing them better to compare between wines and brands.
This is the second agreement signed by the WWTG. In 2001, the group signed the Mutual Acceptance Agreement on Oenological Practices which provided WWTG exporters with assured access to markets without the costs and frustrations of barriers to trade based on differences in oenological practices. A copy of both agreements can be found online at: www.ita.doc.gov/td/ocg/wwtg.htm.
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