International Issues & Activities - June 2018
European Union – Calorie and Ingredient labelling of alcoholic beverages
As previously highlighted in March, a collaboration of European Alcoholic beverage industry representatives provided the European Commission with the joint Self-regulatory proposal from the EU alcoholic beverages provision of nutrition information and ingredients listing. The overall proposal includes an overarching general proposal listing six key commitments for all alcohol and a suit of more specific annex, which outline how each sector (beer, cider, wine and spirits) will comply within the proposal. The current proposed wine annex is available here. This proposal was provided at the request of the EC and is currently being assessed.
However, on 5 June 2018 EU Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis confirmed he was not pleased with the “inconsistent” proposal recently submitted by the alcohol industry on labelling and insisted that European consumers should be presented the full information of the products they purchase. The proposal is currently undergoing a legal assessment and will require further assessment by EU member states before a decision is reached.
The initial WTO consultation stage of our WTO dispute occurred between Australia and Canada in Geneva on 1 March 2018. The United States, New Zealand, European Union, Argentinian and Chilean governments attended as third party observers. Following the initial Australia-Canada WTO consultation the Australian Government held bilateral discussions with Canada in Ottawa at the end of April 2018. These efforts were made to explore any possibilities of resolving the issues outside of the official WTO process.
On 25 May 2018, the United States (US) Government announced its intention to take their own WTO dispute to a Panel Stage. We understand that if Australia’s WTO action is to move to the Panel Stage it is in our best interests to do so, in terms of timing, concurrently or as close as possible to the US WTO action. The decision to progress the Australian WTO action to a Panel Stage needs approval by Minister Ciobo. WFA has drafted a supporting letter to Minister Ciobo encouraging moving to the Panel stage. If a panel stage of the dispute is initiated WFA will be seeking member input in order to support the legal challenge against discriminatory practices against imported wine.
With the TPP11 text now agreed the next steps are for the parties of the agreement to ratify it within their own countries. Once half of the parties have ratified it within their countries the agreement will enter into force. WFA has made several submissions to Australian Governments senate committees urging the swift ratification of the agreement by Australia. Submissions are available on the WFA website here.