3 Nov 2015

Wine growers toast Euro trade talks

11:06 am on 3 November 2015

The New Zealand wine industry is hoping a free trade agreement with the European Union, its single largest market, will help grow exports by 2020.

Prime Minister John Key and the European Commission have started discussions on a Free Trade Agreement in what is being called a significant first step.

New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive Philip Gregan said the news came at a great time with a number of major wine events in the EU in January, and the world's largest wine fair - ProWein - in Düsseldorf Germany in March.

"We export over $450 million of wine to the EU a year. We face some tariffs going into that market so anything that can be done to reduce those would be welcome."

He said the tariffs were at a moderate level.

"But removal of any tariffs, what ever the level, is always a positive. And we'd like to see the trade in simple terms put on a firmer footing with modern rules in place.

He said FTAs take a long time to negotiate.

"I'm not sure this FTA would have much impact on the industry's $2 billion exports goal by 2020, but obviously we'd like to think it'll have an impact post 2020."