South Africa Planning to Double Tax-Free Wine Exports to EU

  • Can export 110 million liters of wine, up from 48 million now
  • EU accounts for 75% of South Africa’s offshore wine sales

South Africa plans to double exports of duty-free wine to the European Union after reaching a trade pact.

The Economic Partnership Agreement between the EU and the Southern African Customs Union, which includes Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland and Botswana, means South Africa can export 110 million liters (29 million gallons) of duty-free wine, up from the current 48 million liters, Wines of South Africa said in an e-mailed statement. The EU region accounts for 75 percent of the nation’s annual offshore wine sales, valued at 5 billion rand ($330 million).

"We hope to see wine makers capitalize on this opportunity to build Brand South Africa, as well as the reputation of their own brands," Michael Mokhoro, a relationship manager for South Africa’s wine and brandy industries, said in the statement. He added that the agreement “offered a much-needed boost for the industry that had been besieged by drought and a tough global climate."

South Africa is the world’s seventh-largest producer of wine and has almost 100,000 hectares (247,000 acres) of vineyards, mostly in the Western Cape province. Crops across the region have been damaged by a drought and the country last year received the least rainfall since records started in 1904.

Exports to the EU will increase by 1 million liters annually, Mokhoro said by phone.

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