Chinese Regulators Meet with TTB to Discuss Strengthening Partnership Efforts
Posted 11/19/2014 (Updated 12/08/2014)
Dr. Abdul Mabud, SSD Director, leads the AQSIQ through the instrument room and details TTB testing procedures
Recently, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) hosted a meeting with a delegation from the People's Republic of China at the TTB National Laboratory Center in Beltsville, Maryland.
Chinese officials from the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) met with TTB's Assistant Administrator for Headquarters Operations, representatives from TTB's International Affairs Division and Scientific Services Division, and representatives from the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. AQSIQ is the Chinese customs agency charged with enforcing product standards and food safety of imports and exports, and has worked closely with TTB on a variety of issues in recent years.
The talks focused on strengthening the AQSIQ-TTB relationship under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in 2007. In this MOU, TTB and AQSIQ agreed to establish a consistent channel for information exchange regarding the import and export of alcohol and tobacco products.
During the meeting, AQSIQ and TTB agreed to increase information sharing between their respective laboratories by sharing new or innovative testing procedures, and to expand collaboration with respect to the laboratory analysis of tobacco products. This will help standardize testing between the two countries and decrease uncertainties for producers who import and export products between the United States and China. The group also agreed to pursue an electronic export certificate program to ease paperwork burdens, prevent document forgery and combat product counterfeiting.
Since the MOU went into effect, TTB and AQSIQ have been working together to improve the wine and alcohol beverage trade between the United States and China. In 2013, the two agreed to use a consolidated wine export certificate, significantly reducing the paperwork burden for the exporter and decreasing processing time for the regulating agencies. Both TTB and AQSIQ agreed that the consolidated certificate has been extremely successful, and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is now looking at the TTB-AQSIQ consolidated certificate as a possible model for an APEC-wide consolidated wine export certificate, which could potentially decrease trade barriers among its member economies.
After the morning discussion, TTB's Scientific Services Division led the AQSIQ representatives on a tour through the Beverage Alcohol Laboratory, Tobacco Laboratory, and the Nonbeverage Alcohol Laboratory. TTB's chemists demonstrated select product testing techniques, showed them the advanced laboratory equipment, and explained TTB's product sampling policies.
On October 25, TTB accompanied the AQSIQ delegation on a visit through Breaux Vineyards in Northern Virginia, where they toured its production and storage facilities.