EU and South Africa end months of dispute to sign wine and spirit treaty

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Bringing to an end months of bitter in-fighting, a deal has been struck between the European Union and South Africa over the details of two bilateral agreements on trade in wines and spirits.The texts will now be presented to the South African government and the EU Council of Ministers, where they are expected to be rubber stamped in the next few weeks, coming into force on September 1, following a signature ceremony.Talks between Brussels and Pretoria over the drinks trade have been protracted, with knotty disputes over the rights of South Africa to continue using designations such as Port for locally produced fortified wines being especially difficult to unravel.But agreed texts have now been concluded. They include the recognition of certain technical standards, including oenological practices (rules for wine making), import licensing, direct collaboration between supervisory bodies, and dispute settlement. South Africa will refrain from using the terms "Port" and "Sherry" on its export markets after five years and on its domestic market after 12 years. And it has promised to give exclusive protection to certain traditional names of spirits such as grappa, ouzo, Korn, Pacharan and Jagatee, after five years. For cases where protected designations have been recorded as trade names, for products other than those originating in the specific region, a "pragmatic procedure" has been agreed, with all cases of dispute being identified by the end of this year. Keith Nuthall

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