The American wine industry has been on an impressive winning streak of late, with major advancements in both the domestic and international markets. In the United States, wine consumption rose to an eighty-year high in 2014, with sales reaching a record $57 billion. Internationally, the European Union reached a historic agreement to eliminate tariffs and other barriers on wine imports from countries such as the United States and New Zealand, which will make European wines more affordable in these markets.
The combined efforts of European countries to increase exports of wine and to eliminate barriers that prevent U.S. and EU wines from being sold in foreign markets have been successful in recent years. In the past two years, wine producers in the United States and in several European countries have been able to get free trade agreements in place that eliminate tariffs and other trade barriers. This has been welcome news to European wine producers, who have been facing a decline in demand for their wine in several countries.
Global wine industry coalition calls for end to retaliatory measures against wine tariffs and other non-tariff trade barriers
10. May – WASHINGTON – The Wine Origins Alliance (WOA), a global coalition of 31 organizations representing nearly 90,000 wineries and grape growers, recently held a virtual meeting in Washington, D.C., and Brussels to discuss with U.S. and European Union policymakers barriers to wine trade, including harmful tariffs and the lack of effective protection of wine region names in the United States and around the world.
AMO members have provided nearly one million jobs and more than $8 billion in wine exports worldwide. However, the global wine industry has been hit hard by the COVID 19 pandemic, and this damage has been compounded by retaliatory tariffs on wine imposed in the context of unrelated trade disputes. Members of the AOM met with members of Congress, the Office of the US Trade Representative, the US Mission to the European Union, the EU Delegation to the United States, and the European Commission to advocate for the permanent elimination of these tariffs and other non-tariff barriers to trade in wine, including the protection of wine region names.
A 2018 survey found that 94% of American wine drinkers support laws that would protect consumers from deceptive wine labels. Despite this overwhelming support, some countries, including the United States, allow geographical names on the labels of wines that do not originate from that country. This makes it difficult for consumers to be sure that the wine they are buying really comes from a region they know, and it undermines the credibility of the wine industry as a whole. At their meetings, AOM members explained how truth-in-wine labeling protects the integrity of international wine names and ensures that the wines consumers buy actually come from the area they expect.
Earlier this year, the AMO sent a letter to Ambassador Tai, the U.S. Trade Representative, outlining a number of current trade issues affecting the wine industry, including harmful retaliatory tariffs and a lack of effective name protection for wine regions. Last year, the alliance also sent a letter urging the EU Trade Commissioner not to impose retaliatory duties on wine.
The Wine Origins Alliance, formerly known as the Joint Declaration for the Protection of Place and Origin of Wine, is committed to breaking down barriers in the wine trade. Members represent the following regions: Barossa, Bordeaux, Burgundy/Chablis, Champagne, Chianti Classico, Côte de Provence, Finger Lakes, Sherry, Livermore Valley, Long Island, McLaren Vale, Missouri, Monterey County, Napa Valley, Oregon, Paso Robles, Port, Rhone Valley, Rioja, Santa Barbara County, Seneca Lake, Sonoma County, South Africa, Texas, Tokay, Victoria, Walla Walla Valley, Washington State, Western Australia, Willamette Valley and Yamanasi. For more information, visit origins.wine or follow the Alliance on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
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