Origin seeks CCT break for Fairtrade

Origin Wine has mounted a petition to remove the Common Customs Tariff from Fairtrade wines in a bid to increase its distribution across the EU.

Hoping to collect up to 10,000 signatures, the producer of Fairhills Fairtrade wine launched the petition at the LIWF. It will now be presented to Europe minister Jim Murphy.

The CCT applies to goods imported into the EU. But to further develop sustainable business in the developing world, Origin hopes to see the tax relieved on all Fairtrade goods entering the EU, says chief executive Bernard Fontannaz.

"If the EU has been able to relieve the CCT for certain countries already - such as South Africa and Chile - it seems fair, and in line with its policy, to relieve the CCT on all Fairtrade products instead of trying to write off debts or providing help which is not sustainable," Fontannaz said.

WSTA chief executive Jeremy Beadles said removing the CCT was not currently part of the association's campaign agenda, but he would welcome talks with Origin on the issue. "In terms of raising awareness of Fairtrade wines, it can only be seen as a positive. There are a lot of good reasons why the EU politicians should grant this."

Origin has also extended its Fairhills Fairtrade project to include wines from Chile. The producer rolled out a new dual varietal range from Curico at the fair, which includes a Chardonnay/Sauvignon Blanc blend, a Cabernet Sauvignon/Carmenère blend and a Merlot/Carmenère blend. Profits from the sales of Fairhills wines contribute to better teaching facilities, access to adult education and improving health care facilities for communities in South Africa, Argentina and Chile.

Origin has also revealed it will continue the link-up between South African brand Stormhoek and cartoonist and blogger Hugh MacLeod. The producer acquired Stormhoek along with Australian brand Camden Park from Orbital Wines after it went into administration in January.

Fontannaz said the company will look to increase the brand's UK distribution.