Asia Pacific wine trade loses $1bn a year to red tape

January 24, 2014 - 12:58:50 pm

SINGAPORE: Red tape is costing the Asia Pacific's wine industry $1.0 billion a year, APEC said Friday, as it vowed to simplify the procedures to take advantage of growing demand in the region.

A complex web of non-tariff barriers such as multiple export certificates and unnecessary testing is hampering the industry's growth, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) grouping said in a statement.

Tom LaFaille, vice president and international trade counsel of the US-based Wine Institute, said the value of wine trade in the APEC region more than tripled to $23 billion in 2012 from $7.0 billion in 2000.

Asian markets are a key growth area for global producers, with China in particular tipped to become the largest wine-consuming nation within 20 years, overtaking the United States, as the world's number two economy fuels a wealthier middle class.

LaFaille said however that while the wine trade in the region has grown, "so too have unnecessary trade barriers".

Currently, individual economies require different sets of documents from wine exporters to ensure that the product is safe for consumption, making the certification process "confusing, not to mention costly and duplicative", the statement said.

It added that the APEC Wine Regulatory Forum, which is tasked with eliminating some of the barriers, has been working with national regulators to simplify the process.

The group aims to remove export certificates where unnecessary, develop a model wine certificate applicable across the board and promote electronic submissions of documents.

"These non-tariff barriers are estimated to cost businesses, primarily small and medium-sized wine producers, approximately $1.0 billion a year," said Wade Armstrong, head of the New Zealand delegation to the World Wine Trade Group and who is involved in the forum.

According to the World Bank, consolidating the certification process will cut preparation for the documents from nine days to three and slash costs from $156 to $52 for each certificate.

There has been some progress, the statement said, noting that the United States and China have agreed on a "consolidated wine export certificate" while Chile has initiated a pilot scheme to submit the documents electronically.

APEC groups 21 Pacific Rim economies, including big wine exporters like Australia, Chile, New Zealand and the United States.

The other members are Brunei, Canada, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

APEC accounts for more than 50 percent of global gross domestic product and more than 40 percent of world trade. (AFP)

 

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