Wine Testifies for the Senate

Senate Agriculture Committee Hearing on COOL

June 25th, 2015

Washington D.C. — Today the Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing on the Country of Origin Labeling dispute.  A list of U.S. commodities, including wine, faces over three billion dollars in tariffs from Canada and Mexico. WineAmerica Board Member and New York Wine and Grape Foundation President, Jim Trezise, spoke to the effect that these tariffs would have on the wine industry. Other panelists included representatives from the North American Meat Institute, the American Farm Bureau, Cattlemen’s Association, Kansas Livestock Association, Archer Daniels Midland Company Corn Processing Business Unit. The hearing was lead by Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Ranking Member Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).

Mr. Trezise presented the need for swift legislative action and the need for full repeal of COOL. Canada and Mexico have repeatedly stated that full repeal is the only solution that they will accept. Additionally, Trezise addressed the importance of the Canadian market for New York and other regions. Canada is the largest export market for U.S. wine, and the proposed tariffs will have a devastating impact on the the American wine industry.

WineAmerica thanks the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry for holding the hearing on COOL and for inviting a member of the wine industry to testify.

Background: Country of Origin Labeling, or “COOL,” is a law requiring retailers to indicate the country of origin on a cut of meat. In 2009 Canada challenged the American implementation of this law at the World Trade Organization (WTO). The WTO ruled in Canada’s favor and has continued to do so in all subsequent appeals. With today’s final ruling, Canada and Mexico will be able to levy tariffs against American products. Wine is on the preliminary “hit list” made public by Canadians.

Tariffs against American wine will be a huge hit to our industry. Canada is the largest foreign market for American wine.  Last year U.S wine exports to Canada reached $487 million, a 7% increase from 2013. Retail sales for American wine in Canada now eclipse $1 billion. In 2013 the U.S. was the second largest exporter of wine to Canada, with a 16% market share among wine imports sold in Canada.

The preliminary Canadian plan would place a tariff on wine based on the value of the product entering the country. For example, a wine with a $10 import value would be hit with a $10 tariff, doubling the cost of the wine sent into the country. Apart from the immediate financial loss, the American wine industry could face long term effects. Raising the price of a bottle of a US wine will hinder competition with other wine regions, notably South Africa and Australia. The United States could lose shelf space that would take years to regain.

Current Action: Earlier this month the House of Representatives passed a bi-partisan bill repealing the COOL requirements. With the August congressional recess looming, and with the WTO review period ending on August 17, the Senate must act quickly. The Canadian and Mexican governments have made it clear that, short of a full repeal of the COOL meat labeling rules, the tariffs will commence. If the COOL rules are not repealed, the tariffs will go into effect as early as September and will last at least two years.

WineAmerica is the national voice the American wine industry. Based in Washington, D.C., WineAmerica represents wineries in 43 states and leads a coalition of state and regional wine and grape associations.  As an industry leader, WineAmerica encourages the dynamic growth and development of American wineries and winegrowing through the advancement and advocacy of sound public policy.

View Chairman Robert’s statement on COOL

Questions? Contact Michael Kaiser at mkaiser@wineamerica.org

 

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WineAmerica Member to Testify Before Congress

U.S. Wine Industry on Country of Origin Labeling

June 24, 2015

Washington, D.C. – Thursday, June 25th, the Senate Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing on the Country of Origin Labeling dispute.  A list of U.S. commodities, including wine, faces over three billion dollars in tariffs from Canada and Mexico. WineAmerica Board Member and New York Wine and Grape Foundation President, Jim Trezise, will speak to the effect that these tariffs would have on the wine industry. (See list of witnesses)

On May 18, the World Trade Organization (WTO) Dispute Settlement Body issued their final ruling against the United States country of origin labeling (COOL) requirements for muscle cuts of meat. If the requirements are not repealed by the U.S. Government, Canada and Mexico will retaliate on a variety of American exports to Canada, including wine. Earlier this month the House of Representatives passed a bi-partisan bill repealing the COOL requirements. The Senate now begins its work on this issue. (Read more: House Passes COOL Repeal)

With the August congressional recess looming, and with the WTO review period ending on August 17, the Senate must act quickly. The Canadian and Mexican governments have made it clear that, short of a full repeal of the COOL meat labeling rules, the tariffs will commence. If the COOL rules are not repealed, the tariffs will go into effect as early as September and will last at least two years.

WineAmerica, working with our partners at the Wine Institute, proposed to the Senate Agriculture Committee that Jim Trezise represent the wine industry at this hearing. His testimony will stress the need for swift legislative action and the need for full repeal. Additionally, Trezise will address the importance of the Canadian market for New York and other regions. Canada is the largest export market for U.S. wine, and the proposed tariffs will have a devastating impact on the the American wine industry.

The hearing will begin at 10 a.m. EST. The Senate Agriculture live streams its hearings through their website. If you would like to watch the hearing, the live stream can be found here: Country of Origin Labeling and Trade Retaliation.

WineAmerica is the national voice the American wine industry. Based in Washington, D.C., WineAmerica represents wineries in 43 states and leads a coalition of state and regional wine and grape associations.  As an industry leader, WineAmerica encourages the dynamic growth and development of American wineries and winegrowing through the advancement and advocacy of sound public policy.

Questions? Contact Michael Kaiser at mkaiser@wineamerica.org

COOL in the News:

 

 

Congress Moves to Protect U.S. Wines from Canadian Tariffs

May 19th, 2015

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX), Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, has introduced bipartisan legislation to repeal Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) for certain cuts of meat to avoid retaliatory tariffs on a variety of U.S. exports to Canada and Mexico. The bill, H.R. 2393, would repeal the country of origin labeling requirements for beef, chicken, and pork. The bipartisan legislation currently has 60 original co-sponsors.

The full House Agriculture Committee will be holding a hearing on H.R. 2393 tomorrow, and a markup is expected to follow. Currently there are no amendments proposed, but that could change in the committee markup. Once reported from committee the bill will head to the House floor, which could happen as soon as early June.

This morning WineAmerica attended a press conference at the Capitol for H.R. 2393.  The press conference was held by the two lead sponsors of the COOL repeal legislation, Chairman Conaway (R-TX) and Congressman Jim Costa (D-CA). They were joined by members of both parties  who expressed their support of the legislation.  Industry representatives spoke in support of the legislation and praised Conaway’s and Costa’s efforts.  Bobby Koch, President of the Wine institute was in attendance, saying that the market for American wine had increased 78 percent into Canada over the last five years,  where total wine sales had increased only 16 percent.  He stressed that all of this is in jeopardy of being lost if the retaliatory tariffs on wine are implemented.  Congressman Costa also stated the importance of wine, stressing that California alone would face a $1 billion retaliation hit this fall if the existing COOL rules are not repealed.

Read More: U.S. Wine Industry Facing Steep Tariffs from Canada

The Senate Agriculture Committee will also be working on a solution to the WTO ruling. Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) has stated he is open to any solution, including repeal for meat, to prevent retaliatory tariffs. Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) has come out against repeal. It is unclear when the Senate might take action.

Canada and Mexico have been clear that nothing short of a full repeal of the COOL rules will satisfy their respective governments. Without a full repeal, the World Trade Organization has authorized Canada and Mexico to take punitive action against the United States in the form of retaliatory tariffs.

WineAmerica supports efforts by Congress to address the COOL regulations, including the repeal legislation introduced Representatives Conaway and Costa. WineAmerica’s government affairs team will be advocating for quick action on H.R. 2393. Retaliatory tariffs could be implemented as soon as August, Congress must work quickly to address the issue.

Questions and inquires should be directed to Michael Kaiser, Director of Public Affairs at mkaiser@wineameria.org.

Read more about WineAmerica’s policy issues.

U.S. Wine Industry Facing Steep Tariffs from Canada

For Immediate Release

May 18th, 2015

Washington, D.C. – Today the World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement Body issued their final ruling against the United States country of origin labeling  (COOL) requirements for muscle cuts of meat. What does that mean for the wine industry? If the United States does not repeal its COOL rule, Canada and Mexico will retaliate with substantive tariffs on a variety of American products which could include wine.

Country of Origin Labeling, or “COOL,” is a law requiring retailers to indicate the country of origin on a cut of meat. In 2009 Canada challenged the American implementation of this law at the World Trade Organization (WTO). The WTO ruled in Canada’s favor and has continued to do so in all subsequent appeals. With today’s final ruling, Canada and Mexico will be able to levy tariffs against American products. Wine is on the preliminary “hit list” made public by Canadians.

Read: Congress Moves to Protect U.S. Wines from Canadian Tariffs

Tariffs against American wine will be a huge hit to our industry. Canada is the largest foreign market for American wine.  Last year U.S wine exports to Canada reached $487 million, a 7% increase from 2013. Retail sales for American wine in Canada now eclipse $1 billion. In 2013 the U.S. was the second largest exporter of wine to Canada, with a 16% market share among wine imports sold in Canada.

The preliminary Canadian plan would place a tariff on wine based on the value of the product entering the country. For example, a wine with a $10 import value would be hit with a $10 tariff, doubling the cost of the wine sent into the country. Apart from the immediate financial loss, the American wine industry could face long term effects. Raising the price of a bottle of a US wine will hinder competition with other wine regions, notably South Africa and Australia. The United States could lose shelf space that would take years to regain.

Tariffs will largely affect California wineries, but smaller, family owned wineries in Oregon, Washington, New York and Michigan will also be impacted. In 2014, Washington wineries exported a total of $7.5 million in total wine sales into Canada. Oregon sent almost 22,000 cases of their wine across the border in 2014.

Canada has sixty days to submit a dollar amount to the WTO for retaliation. Once the WTO approves the amount they begin to implement tariffs on targeted commodities. While we hope wine will be omitted,  WineAmerica’s government affairs team is actively lobbying Congress to support a legislative fix, including but not limited to a repeal of the COOL regulations, before any tariffs on U.S. wine exports can be implemented, which could be as soon as the end of the summer.

WineAmerica is the national voice the American wine industry. Based in Washington, D.C., WineAmerica represents wineries in 43 states and leads a coalition of state and regional wine and grape associations.  As an industry leader, WineAmerica encourages the dynamic growth and development of American wineries and winegrowing through the advancement and advocacy of sound public policy.

For more information about COOL visit www.coolreform.com. View list of American commodities potentially targeted by Canada. Learn more about WineAmerica and wine industry advocacy at www.wineamerica.org.

Questions and inquires should be directed to Michael Kaiser, Director of Public Affairs at mkaiser@wineamerica.org

Read more about WineAmerica’s policy issues.