Half of South Africa's wine imports to Europe will be free of duty if a new trade agreement is ratified at the end of this month as expected. This could mean lower prices for UK consumers but no benefits for the winemakers, according to Wines of South Africa chief executive Sue Birch. She said: "It is the importers who will make the saving and we would like them to use the money to support our brands within Europe. "But the UK supermarkets are so powerful we are concerned that they will try to get the money to reduce the prices of our wines or improve their margins. "South Africa has had a reputation in the past for low priced wines and we are very concerned this will firmly entrench us at the bottom of the market." She said that because of these reservations the industry would be looking at a range of options. The final obstacles to the long-running negotiations are about to be overcome. This will allow the Cape wine farmers to export 42 million litres of wine to Europe free of duty. Currently they sell 85 million litres within the EU. Under the agreement South Africa has agreed to phase out the use of terms such as grappa, ouzo and port. {{DRINKS }}

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