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STREAMLINING the international requirements that Australian wines must meet has the potential to save growers and winemakers millions of dollars.

Tony Battaglene, Winemakers’ Federation of Australia strategy and international affairs general manager, said moves to deliver savings are well underway following strong support for change at the fourth APEC Wine Regulatory Forum – the first to be held in the Asia Pacific region.

“There were a number of major initiatives discussed at the forum in Beijing last week that have the potential to dramatically improve trade prospects across the region and deliver substantial saving to Australian growers and winemakers,” Battaglene said.

“Considerable headway was made at the meeting to harmonise maximum residue limits set for agri-chemicals on wines, increasing efficiency of analytical testing and, importantly, developing common certification procedures which would be very welcome news to the Australian wine industry.

“These requirements have traditionally varied from country to country and can be very costly and even prohibitive for some producers. There is now a five-year project underway with the objective of eliminating some of these imposts.

“These include removing requirements for non-science based testing and certification for wine trade in the region and reducing the regulatory burden. Again – very important developments that mean a better, streamlined process for getting Australian wines into some of our markets while not compromising our high standards.”

Battaglene said the APEC Wine Regulatory Forum was the first meeting to be held in Asia and the second of six technical fora planned under the multi-year project.

Attending were government officials and industry representatives from 17 participating economies. The next APEC Wine Regulatory Forum will be held in Australia in November 2015.

The Wine Regulatory Forum initially grew out of the Federation and the Californian wine industry which gained support from APEC governments and industries.