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SOUTH Africa’s wine industry has received a major boost with the signing of an agreement between the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and the EU which will allow the country to export 110-million litres of wine to Europe — up from the current annual duty-free quota of 48-million litres.Although SA exports worldwide, the EU is by far the wine industry’s biggest export destination, accounting for close to 75 % of annual off-shore sales volumes, worth R5bn. SA’s nearly 100,000ha of vineyards, mostly situated in the Western Cape near the coast, generate about 3% of the world’s wine production.Michael Mokhoro, the stakeholder relationship manager for SA’s wine and brandy industries, on Friday said the economic partnership agreement needed to be ratified before the end of September, in order to take effect from October 2016. He said each of the SACU countries — SA, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland and Botswana — would first have to individually ratify the agreement through their respectiv...

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