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TRANS-PACIFIC Partnership (TPP) negotiations in Canberra over the weekend is an opportunity for the wine sector and the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) to urge those around the table to aim high.

Joining the call by agri-food producer and processor groups from Canada, Australia and New Zealand, WFA said trade liberalisation for wine was important for the region.

Tony Battaglene, WFA international affairs general manager  said the negotiations were an opportunity to enhance producer profitability in the region and benefit consumers.

“The TPP negotiations can resolve wine sector specific issues as well as provide cross-sectoral benefit for agriculture as a whole and we would urge negotiators to grab these opportunities with both hands,” he said.

“The promised TPP agreement has the potential to free up trade across the region and the benefits that will flow as a direct result will go into the rural and regional communities that are the lifeblood of the Australian wine industry.

“An area that must stay high on the agenda is the elimination of tariffs for wine across all parties.

“The Australian wine sector is right behind the government in pursuing an ambitious trade strategy and, while we recognise trade negotiations are often difficult and invariably protracted, progress can and should be made this weekend by the Trade Ministers.

“If we can finalise the TPP and follow that up with a successful China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, the Australian wine industry will receive a welcome boost.

“We wish our negotiators luck this weekend and over the coming months and we will continue to support them as and where we can.”

The TPP is being negotiated between 12 Pacific Rim Countries including the US, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Peru, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam.