Wines of South Africa has clarified claims in the South African press that prices of the country's wines in Europe are set to rise next year, as a trade agreement with the European Union lapses.

The Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA) between the European Community and South Africa, signed in 2004, was drawn up to provide both sides with “preferential trade arrangements”, the European Union said at the time. As part of the deal, a Free Trade Area was introduced between the two, resulting in South Africa avoiding tariffs on up to 80% of its exports.

However, reports over the weekend in South Africa claimed that the agreement, has not been renewed despite negotiations between the EU and South Africa.

When contacted by just-drinks today (20 December), however, a spokesperson for the country's wine trade body, Wines of South Africa, played down the reports, saying that an extension has been proposed but not yet agreed.

“The existing trade agreement ... between SA and EU countries needs to be renegotiated at a certain point,” the spokesperson said. “The proposed deadline for this renegotiation was set for 31 December 2010, however, the (South African) Department of Trade and Industry announced this deadline will not be met.

“Another date has been proposed for 2011,” the spokesperson continued. “This does not impact on the existing agreement in any way whatsoever."

Further details on the trade agreement can be found here.