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U.S./EC Wine Agreement
On March 10, 2006, the United States and European Community (EC) signed the Agreement between the United States and the European Community on Trade in Wine.
Since 1983, the EC has been renewing short-term derogations from their regulations for U.S. wine made using practices not approved by the EC. The temporary nature of these derogations created continuous uncertainty for U.S. wine exporters. The agreement is intended to replace these derogations and provide stable market conditions for wine trade between the United States and EC.
The agreement provides for:
- recognition of each other's existing current winemaking practices;
- a consultative process for accepting new winemaking practices;
- the United States limiting the use of certain semi-generic names in the U.S. market (Industry Circular 2006--1);
- the EC allowing under specified conditions for the use of certain regulated terms on U.S. wine exported to the EC;
- recognizing certain names of origin in each other's market;
- simplifying certification requirements for U.S. wine exported to the EC;
- defining parameters for optional labeling elements of U.S. wine sold in the EC market;
- exemption of EC natural grape wines containing 0.5 to 22% alcohol by volume from U.S. wine certification requirements.
As committed to in the Agreement (PDF), the United States limits the use of 16 semi-generic names, as well as Retsina, to wine originating from the EC. A "grandfather" clause allows for preexisting uses of these semi-generic names on non-European wine, but prohibits new brands from using these names on non-EC wine.
Also, as committed to in the Agreement (PDF), as of April 1, 2007, the EC began allowing U.S. exporters to submit a simplified certification and analysis document, in place of the VI-1 form, for wine exports to the EC (Industry Circular 2007-2).