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OH NO, Possible Tequila catastrophe could happen...

Campo

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http://channels.netscape.com/ns/atp...ff/story/0002/20030926/082594947.htm&sc=reodd



By Richard Cowan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Tequila, the distilled spirit that fueled a decades-old margarita craze in the United States, has landed squarely in the middle of a trade fight between Mexico City and Washington.

Mexico is threatening to cut off all bulk exports of Tequila, claiming it needs to tighten quality controls on the gold-plated namebrand that is owned by the Mexican government and supposedly assures every bottle's high quality. If enacted, all Tequila would be bottled in Mexico.

Mexico is the only nation that produces the alcohol made from fermented sap from the blue agave plant.

But as is usually in the case with trade fights, there are opposing views. U.S. companies suspect that by banning bulk exports used north of the Rio Grande for individual bottling, Mexico is maneuvering to steal American bottling jobs.

Peter Cressy, president of the Distilled Spirits Council, on Wednesday called Mexico's proposal an "ill-conceived action" in violation of world trade rules.

Another U.S. industry official, who asked not to be identified, bluntly said the Mexican government was trying to "create jobs" by moving American bottling operations south.

In early August, as official Washington was mostly shut down, Mexico previewed a new regulation requiring that all Tequila would have to be bottled before export.

The Bush administration, already reeling from 3.3 million private sector job losses under its watch and sensing the potential loss of bottling plant jobs in California, Arkansas, Missouri and Kentucky, has been in contact with Mexico to protest the move, according to a U.S. Trade Representative's office spokeswoman.

The agency is hoping to head off a late-October official publication of the regulation by Mexico that could go into effect as early as next year.

Allen Johnson, the chief agriculture negotiator for the U.S. Trade Representative, told inquiring senators on Tuesday his agency was still reviewing Mexico's proposed regulations and was working with industry to try to resolve the problem.

Last year, the United States consumed 86.4 million bottles of Tequila, more than half of Mexico's total output. Eighty-three percent was shipped to the U.S. in bulk form and bottled here, according to the U.S. industry.

Mexico's Tequila Regulatory Council challenged the notion that job creation was driving the move to kill bulk exports.

Judith Meza Nixon, U.S.-Canada representative for the council, said there is evidence that handlers of bulk Tequila on both sides of the border could be eroding the drink's quality.

In a telephone interview, she said that some bulk shipments from Mexico turned out to be sugar cane alcohol or grains spirits, instead of Tequila. In other instances, U.S. bottlers were found mixing different types of Tequila together, also in violation of Mexican standards, she said.

If Mexico halts bulk shipments, the government would be "protecting the authenticity of a product," which Nixon argued was within international trade rules.

Frank Coleman, a spokesman for the U.S. distillers, said this trade dispute comes as consumption is skyrocketing. That, he said, was because of American's growing love for premium sipping Tequilas and for Tequila-based drinks.

Without Mexico's bulk Tequila, Cressy said, there is the "significant potential" for shortages.

If Mexico goes ahead with this, the United States eventually could file a North American Free Trade Agreement complaint. For now, both industries are saying they have NAFTA on their side.
 






RockRanger

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i dont know much about tokillya but what makes it so hard that we cant manufacture it in the US somewhere? from the article you need this blue agave plant. I would think as diverse as the US is there has to be place that it can be grown here. Then if we do that we can give the farmers some farm aid and then compete with mexico. If a shortage would be created in he US how many people would trully keep buying it at say twice the price and not start drinking vodka or another type of liquor.

Matt
 






ipozestu

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If you ask me it soudns like another NAFTA flaw. Thanks again Bill.
 






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