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U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Brazilian Trade Minister Fernando Pimentel Exchange Letters on Unique Distilled Spirits

Washington, DC -- Today United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Brazilian Minister of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade Fernando Pimentel signed an exchange of letters launching a process by the United States to designate Cachaça as a distinctive product of Brazil, and by Brazil to designate Bourbon Whiskey and Tennessee Whiskey as distinctive products of the United States. Ambassador Kirk said, “Cachaça and Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey are among the United States’ and Brazil’s most unique and well-recognized products. This exchange of letters represents a very positive development for both of our industries, and reflects our Governments’ commitment to stronger bilateral trade ties.”

Background

Cachaça is a distilled spirit made from fermented sugarcane and is the base ingredient of the Brazilian national cocktail, the caipirinha. Brazil has asked the United States to recognize Cachaça as a distinctive product of Brazil, and USTR, on behalf of the U.S. distilled spirits industry, has asked Brazil to recognize Bourbon Whiskey and Tennessee Whiskey as distinctive products of the United States. The exchange of letters is the first step toward this recognition.. The Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) will publish a notice of proposed rulemaking that will solicit comments from the public. If TTB promulgates a final regulation designating Cachaça as a distinctive product of Brazil, Brazil will then recognize Bourbon Whiskey and Tennessee Whiskey as distinctive products of the United States. This would be a favorable outcome for both the U.S. and Brazilian industries and would create increased opportunities for trade in distilled spirits.

In 2011, Brazil was our eighth largest goods trading partner with $74 billion in total (two ways) goods trade. The U.S. goods trade surplus with Brazil was $12 billion in 2011.