Australia's authorities believe that a new international agreement covering wine making should help boost the country's exports. Australia ratified the Agreement on Mutual Acceptance of Oenological Practices, which has already been ratified by Canada, the US, Chile and Argentina, on 17 February. The pact came into force on Tuesday (1 March).

In a joint statement today (3 March), Agriculture Minister Warren Truss and Trade Minister Nark Vaile said that Australia's ratification should work in favour of the country's wine exporters. The agreement means that, subject to health and safety requirements, Australian wine made in accordance with local laws and procedures can be sold legally in other countries that have ratified the agreement.

"In other words," Truss said, "our wine exports to (such) countries can only be rejected for health and safety reasons."

Canada and the US combined import over A$1bn worth of Australian wine each year, so the treaty is a "real shot in the arm for our industry," Truss added.