Initiatives to support increased trade and better regulation of wine were agreed upon when wine regulators from 16 Asia-Pacific economies met in Auckland this week.
Against the background of a rapid expansion in domestic consumption and wine trade in the Asia Pacific region, with imports alone exceeding US$3.6 billion annually, more than 60 regulators and wine industry representatives met here for the APEC Wine Regulatory Forum (ARF).
The public-private dialogue focused on risk management strategies and the coordination of regulatory approaches to certification requirements for wine within the APEC community. This directly responds to the 2011 direction from APEC Trade Ministers to reduce unnecessary technical barriers to trade in wine within the Pacific-Rim.
“Behind the border barriers to wine trade within the APEC region are estimated to add costs of approximately $US1 billion a year,” advised Wayne McNee, Chief Executive of the New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries.
“The APEC Wine Regulatory Forum plays a crucial role in reigning in those costs and reducing barriers to wine trade, following the APEC tradition of collaboratively addressing issues of common concern. Initiatives like this are critical to building trust and understanding amongst APEC regulators.”
Among the key points discussed at the meeting were:
- Furthering work on regulatory alignment to reduce multiple and overlapping certification requirements
- The importance of a focus on appropriate risk management, given the low risk profile of wine in terms of food safety
- The value of international standards setting bodies in supporting international collaboration and trade efforts
- Ways of supporting collaboration between industries and regulators across the region
The meeting outcomes will be reported to the APEC Sub-Committee on Standards and Conformance when it meets in February 2013 in Indonesia. The Wine Regulators Forum will seek to reconvene in 2013/14 to further progress this work.
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