WORLD TRADE SITUATION AND POLICY UPDATES
On August 3, meetings between the U.S. Agricultural Office in Bonn and German representatives produced favorable results relating to restrictions on U.S. wines because of fluoride levels. Specifically, the Federal Ministry for Nourishment, Agriculture and Forestry agreed to draft a change to Article 2 of the Wine Import Examination Regulation to accept imported wines, which exceed Germany’s fluoride tolerance level of 0.5 ppm, provided they are: (1) accepted in the country of origin; (2) accepted in other EU member states; (3) accepted for import and sale in Germany; (4) pose no health risk; and (5) produced using normal oneological practices with no substances added. The regulatory changes should become effective by December 1998. In the interim, Germany has agreed to grant an exemption, on a case-by-case basis, for U.S. wines which exceed the current German fluoride standard. U.S. wine exports have registered impressive gains in Germany. In CY 1997, shipments were valued at $25 million, up more than 365 percent from 1995.
Germany’s fluoride standard is much stricter than the current voluntary international guidelines issued by the Office of Wine and Vine (OIV) and other EU member states. OIV recommends that wines contain no more than 3 ppm of fluoride. Some U.S. wines exceed Germany’s tolerance level of 0.5 ppm of fluoride, in part because of fluoride presence in the soil and pesticides, such as cryolite, used against various pests. The United States does not have an established tolerance level for fluoride in wine.