LONDON – U.S.
Trade Representative Rob Portman and EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural
Development Mariann Fischer Boel today signed a bilateral agreement on
wine-making practices and labeling of wine that will facilitate bilateral trade
in wine valued at $2.8 billion annually.
"Like a good wine, this agreement took time. But by helping to establish
predictable conditions for bilateral wine trade it is clearly a win-win
situation for U.S. and EU winemakers," said Ambassador Portman. "Wine makers on
both sides of the Atlantic have the right to be proud of how tradition, climate
and expertise combine to create unique tasting experiences. This agreement
honors these differences."
"I want to thank the Federal agencies that worked so diligently to conclude
this agreement, including the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau at the
Treasury Department and our USTR team who brought this difficult negotiation to
a successful conclusion. I would also like to thank the U.S. wine industry for
their support of these negotiations," Portman added.
The Agreement, which is effective immediately, provides for mutual acceptance
of existing wine-making practices and addresses a number of labeling issues,
helping to create marketing certainty for U.S. and EU wine exporters.
The agreement provides for: 1) mutual recognition of existing current
wine-making practices; 2) a consultative process for accepting new wine-making
practices; 3) the United States limiting the use of certain "semi-generic" terms
in the U.S. market; 4) the EU allowing under specified conditions for the use of
certain regulated terms on U.S. wine exported to the EU; 5) recognizing certain
names of origin in each other’s market; 6) simplifying certification
requirements; and 7) defining parameters for optional labeling elements of U.S.
wines sold in the EU market.
Since 1983, the EU has been renewing short-term derogations from their
regulations for U.S. wine made using practices not recognized by the EU. The
temporary nature of these derogations created continuous uncertainty for U.S.
wine exporters. This wine agreement is intended to replace these derogations and
provide stable market conditions for the wine sector.
In 2005, global
exports exceeded $606 million, with exports to the European Community over $323
U.S. imports of
wine from other countries in 2005 were nearly $3.7 billion, and
from the European Community exceeded $2.5 billion.