TTB Provides Technical Expertise at World Wine Trade Group Meeting

Posted 11/22/2013

APEC WRF/WWTG regulators forum

Participants attend a meeting during the joint APEC WRF/WWTG regulators' forum.

TTB participated in the annual meeting of the World Wine Trade Group (WWTG) on November 6-8, 2013, in Washington, DC. The WWTG is an informal grouping of government and industry representatives from the wine-producing countries of Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Georgia, New Zealand, the United States, and South Africa that aims to collaborate on international wine trade issues to minimize trade barriers and facilitate the international trade in wine. TTB's work with the WWTG advances TTB's mission to prevent unfair, deceptive, and unlawful market activity as well as to provide consumers with adequate information as to the identity and quality of wine.  This work aligns with the Department of the Treasury's goal to promote international financial stability and balanced global growth while advancing National Export Initiative efforts to open markets overseas and to ensure the fair and transparent treatment for U.S. exports of alcoholic beverages.

Observers from Brazil, India, China, Chinese Taipei, Japan, Mexico, Thailand, Uruguay, and Vietnam also participated.

On November 6, the WWTG participated in a joint regulators' forum with the APEC Wine Regulatory Forum (WRF). At the joint regulator's forum, representatives from the APEC economies in addition to members and observers of the WWTG shared information about new and upcoming wine issues within their jurisdictions.  Issues discussed included winemaking additives and processing aids, labeling rules, laboratory testing, and excise taxes.  As the primary wine regulator, TTB represented the United States at the forum.

A winery tour was also held during the joint meeting. The winery tour allowed the participants – many of whom regulate wine in countries that do not produce much wine - to learn about grape growing and winemaking and how wine is a low-risk product that should be subject to appropriate risk-based regulations. The joint session also gave the WWTG participants the opportunity to interact with the Asia-Pacific economies, many of which are key export markets for wine.

Following the joint regulators' forum, the WWTG proceeded with its annual meeting, with an official from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative chairing the group.  Both WWTG members and observers provided updates on the latest developments in wine trade in their countries, including data on exports and imports.  They also discussed continuing trade barriers, identified new and potential trade issues, and worked to find common ground on those issues. For example, the group formed an electronic working group to formulate specific recommendations on pesticide residue regulation and enforcement, which vary widely across the globe and create difficulties for exporters. Finally, the group began negotiating a statement on analytical methodology and regulatory limits on constituents and potential contaminants in wine, which would broadly outline several best practices relating to wine analysis and enforcement. The group aims to finalize and issue the statement at the upcoming intersessional meeting scheduled for April 2014 in Brussels, Belgium.

Georgia will assume the chair of the WWTG at the conclusion of the April intersessional meeting, and the next annual meeting is tentatively scheduled for the fall of 2014 in Tbilisi, Georgia.

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Page last reviewed/updated: 11/22/2013