ATF - The Alcohol and Tobacco Newsletter: Office of Alcohol and Tobacco
April 2001
Office of Alcohol and Tobacco
Page 2

Temporary Rule
By Robert Ruhf (202) 453-2265

TATF published a temporary rule (T.D. ATF-444, 66 FR 13849) on March 8, 2001. This rule eliminates ATF on-site supervision of tobacco products and cigarette papers and tubes of Puerto Rican manufacture that are shipped from Puerto Rico to the United States and related ATF forms. Specifically, this rule eliminates the requirements that persons who ship such articles notify ATF prior to the shipment. It also eliminated the requirement that an ATF officer inspects, certifies that the amount of tax on such articles has been calculated correctly for, and releases each shipment. As a result, ATF eliminated four forms. However, this rule requires that persons who ship such articles maintain records. ATF required these records so that the amount of tax is calculated and recorded for audit and examination. ATF also published a notice of proposed rulemaking (Notice No. 912, 66 FR 13864). This notice invites comments on this rule by May 7, 2000.

Re-Opening of Comment Period COLA FORM
By Wanda Burgraff and Lynne Gittes (202) 927-8140

We reopened the comment period on the proposed revision of the COLA form, "Application for Certification/Exemption of Label/Bottle Approval," ATF F 5100.31.

As highlighted in our original notice, we are proposing only minor revisions to the front of the COLA form. The wording of Items 7, 16 and 17 is slightly modified for clarification purposes.

Our draft of the back of the COLA form, however, differs dramatically from the current COLA form. The instructions for completing the form and conditions of approval are restructured. The conditions under which approved labels may be modified without submission of a new COLA application are outlined in chart form. The single-most significant proposed revision is the allowance to add, delete or change any nonmandatory label information without submission of a new COLA application.

Notice of the reopening of the comment period for our proposed revision was published in the Federal Register on April 10, 2001. To request copies of the notice and draft revised form, contact the Alcohol Labeling and Formulation Division (ALFD) Customer Service Desk at (202) 927-8140 or toll free at 1-866-927-2533. If you would like to comment on the form, please address your comments in writing to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, ATTN: Linda Barnes, 650 Massachusetts Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20226. Written comments must be received before July 9, 2001, to assure consideration.

U.S./European Union Wine Negotiations Continue Meeting image
By the Robert White (202) 927-8100 and Robert Tobiassen (202) 927-7772

For the past several years the United States and the European Union (EU) have been engaged in negotiations to improve wine trade. The U.S. delegation to these negotiations is chaired by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR). USTR receives technical assistance from several Government agencies including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The most recent negotiation was held in Washington, D.C., on February 20-21, 2001.

Under EU law, only wine that is made in accordance with EU requirements is eligible to be sold in the EU market. Because the U.S. industry uses other practices in addition to those approved in the EU, a substantial amount of U.S. wine cannot be sold in the EU. Wine made in accordance with EU practices or wine for which the EU has granted a derogation are permitted into the EU. In these negotiations the U.S. is seeking a mutual acceptance arrangement in which both sides recognize the respective differences of their winemaking practices but will not use those differences to prevent imports from the other unless a genuine issue of health is raised. To date, the U.S. has not excluded any EU wine because of the practices used to make it. The EU's main interest in the negotiations is to have the U.S., through its labeling regime, stop what the EU considers to be the misuse of certain geographically related terms which are allowed by U.S. statute as semi-generic names. These names include Champagne and Burgundy, just to name a couple. The EU is also seeking protection over what it calls traditional terms related to the style and character of wine.

Other topics discussed during the negotiations included additional State requirements, simplifying import certification procedures, pesticide residue limits, recent developments in the wine sector, biotech vines, EU wine reform, tariffs, subsidies, and U.S./EU cooperation.

At the end of the two days of negotiations, both sides agreed that it had been a useful exchange of information and that each side would give serious consideration to the ideas expressed by the other.

Red Mountain Viticultural AreaRed Mountain Established
By Jennifer Berry (716) 551-4048

On April 10, 2001, a Treasury Decision establishing the Red Mountain viticultural area was published in the Federal Register. Red Mountain is located in Benton County, Washington, and entirely within the existing Yakima Valley viticultural area. This viticultural area is the result of a petition filed by Mr. Lorne Jacobson of Hedges Cellars, Benton City, Washington. Red Mountain is Washington's fifth and smallest viticultural area, containing approximately 4,040 acres. The final rule will become effective on June 11, 2001.