Australia has signed the New World Wine Producers' Forum treaty and is the latest country to bring a global wine marketing agreement another step closer.

Australia's Herald and Weekly Times newspaper today reported that Australia has joined New Zealand, the US, Japan and Canada in signing the treaty after agreeing to accept differences in wine-making practises and not treat them as reasons for blocking trade in wine.

The wine forum, established in 1998 is now only waiting for Chile, Argentina and South Africa to sign the agrement when according to a spokesman: "The New World countries will have a basis for a treaty."

President of Australia's Winemaking Federation Alister Purbrick said that Australia's billion dollar wine export industry could now make inroads into the lucrative US market. He said: "I anticipate that in 12 months we should be exporting the same sort of numbers into the US as we are currently doing into the UK."

He explained that the treaty would move on to address labelling, inspection regimes and tariffs and eventually attempt to involve the European Union.

"Under the new treaty, one standard export label would be accepted by all the other countries involved," he said.