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TTB NEWSLETTER | Weekly News

September 18, 2015


IN THIS ISSUE

Greetings! We hope you had a successful and content week! This week's top stories include publication of a final rule related to the return of wine to bonded premises, announcements about a recent enforcement action and TTB laboratory ISO accreditation, a USTR notice seeking input for their 2015 list of “notorious markets,” and a list of the past week's top wine pages at TTB.gov/.

TTB ISSUES FINAL RULE ON RETURN OF WINE TO BONDED PREMISES

We are revising the wine regulations governing the return of wine to bonded wine premises in response to two statutory changes.  First, to incorporate a provision contained in the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, TTB is removing a regulatory requirement that wine returned to bond must be unmerchantable.  Second, to incorporate a provision contained in the Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998, TTB is revising the regulations to clarify that the refund or credit of excise tax applies to any wine removed from a bonded wine cellar and subsequently returned to bond.  The current regulatory text states that a refund or credit of tax is available only for wine produced in the United States.

For full details, see T.D. TTB–130, published in the Federal Register on September 15, 2015.  This final rule is effective on October 15, 2015.

To read the final rule and the two relevant statutes, go to Docket No. TTB–2015–0013 on Regulations.gov/.

TTB ACCEPTS $450,000 FROM MILLERCOORS, LLC TO SETTLE VIOLATIONS OF THE FEDERAL ALCOHOL ADMINISTRATION ACT

We have accepted a $450,000 offer in compromise from MillerCoors, LLC for alleged violations of the trade practice provisions of the Federal Alcohol Administration (FAA) Act.

The allegations of trade practice violations stem from MillerCoors’ Miller Fortune Buy-Back Program in which MillerCoors guaranteed participating wholesalers/distributors that it would buy back Miller Fortune product that did not sell and went out of code if the wholesalers/distributors fulfilled certain executional standards which included distribution, speed to market, and forecasting/ordering compliance.  The Bureau alleges that MillerCoors’ violations of the Consignment Sales provisions of the FAA Act resulted in 1,484,792 cases being sold to its wholesalers/distributors located in states with similar state laws.

Under the Consignment Sales provisions of the FAA Act, it is unlawful for an industry member to sell or for any trade buyer to purchase alcohol beverage products with the privilege of return.  Furthermore, TTB Ruling 2012-4, Freshness Dating and Allowable Returns of Malt Beverages under the FAA Act, was issued to address the very type of program arrangement that MillerCoors allegedly engaged in.

TTB is committed to enforcing the trade practice provisions of the FAA Act so that the beverage alcohol marketplace remains fair and competitive.

Please visit www.ttb.gov/ for additional information on prohibited trade practices or to see this and other offers in compromise that have been accepted.

SUCCESSFUL RENEWAL OF ISO 17025 ACCREDITATION

TTB has successfully renewed its ISO 17025 accreditation from the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA), an accreditation body in the United States, for another 2 years.  Through accreditation, TTB’s Scientific Services Division achieves third-party recognition of quality results.  ISO accreditation promotes recognition and respect for our laboratories’ technical competence by industry and other agencies, both nationally and internationally.  This cycle of renewal included the addition of the Nonbeverage Products Laboratory, bringing all four TTB laboratories under the scope of accreditation.

USTR SEEKS COMMENTS ON "NOTORIOUS MARKETS" LIST

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) is requesting written comments from the public identifying Internet and physical markets based outside of the United States that should be included in the 2015 "Notorious Markets" List.  This list identifies online and physical marketplaces that reportedly engage in and facilitate substantial copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting.  The deadline for the submission of comments to USTR is October 5, 2015.  Rebuttal comments may be submitted until October 12, 2015.

For details regarding the 2015 Notorious Market List, and for instructions on how and where to submit comments, see the USTR notice published in the Federal Register on September 10, 2015.

 

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