Food Law News - FAO/WHO/WTO/Codex - 2008

WTO News Release, 2 July 2008

WTO - Technical Barriers to Trade Committee Meeting -Wines and spirits among members' trade concerns

The following is taken from the WTO News Release but only shows those items linked to food issues.

The Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade addressed thirty-three different trade concerns related to the use of regulatory instruments by WTO members.

The discussions took place to ensure that regulations do not unnecessarily restrict trade. Issues related to wines and spirits dominated members discussions. Chemicals continued to be debated as well.

Specific Trade concerns

Wines and spirits

Mexico expressed concerns about a Brazilian measure on quality standards for the production of Tequila (G/TBT/BRA/276). Mexico explained that Tequila was protected since 1977 as a geographical indication and is produced only within a specific area in Mexico where the agava plant is grown. Consequently, Tequila should be elaborated following very strict specifications which were not respected by the Brazilian regulation. According to Mexico, the measure would limit the type of Tequila that could be sold in Brazil and would allow the production of a lower quality product. The EC joined Mexico and said that if the measure was adopted as such, it could have a negative impact on European exports of gin and vodka to Brazil and would create unnecessary obstacles to trade. Brazil said that the draft regulation was under public consultation and added that all comments would be taken into account.

Two other new concerns were raised by Chile and the EC on wine labelling. Chile expressed concerns on Colombian standards for the labelling of wines and liquors. Chile said that Colombia did not proceed with any consultation prior to the publication of the regulation and added more information was needed about the nature and the objective of this measure. Colombia said it would respond to Chile's information request. The EC raised a new concern regarding Brazilian label and certification of origin requirements for imported wine (G/TBT/N/BRA/238). Brazil said it would examine the EC's concerns closely.

Old concerns were again raised on the EC's regulations on the use traditional terms on wine labels (raised by Argentina, the US, Canada and New Zealand) and on a Chinese regulation on sweet wines (raised by the EC G/TBT/N/CHN/197).

Other trade concerns

The type of other concerns raised ranged across issues such as:

Fifth triennial review

The TBT Committee is due to adopt its Fifth Triennial Review on the implementation of the TBT Agreement in November 2009. Members began consideration of the Committee's next steps and discussions will continue at the next meeting of the Committee.

Next meeting

The next meeting of the TBT Committee will take place on 5 and 6 November 2008

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