Letter to the Chairmen of the Senate Committee on Finance and the House Committee on Ways and Means Transmitting Reports Concerning Trade Barriers on Wine

December 19, 1985

Dear Mr. Chairman:

I am submitting to you the country reports required by Title IX, Section 905(b), of the Trade and Tariff Act of 1984. These reports concern the trade barriers on wine that are maintained by Canada, Japan, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, Korea, and Taiwan, countries previously identified by the U.S. Trade Representative.

We have made progress in reducing or eliminating the trade barriers maintained by several of these countries. In particular, Taiwan has agreed to greatly improve market access for U.S. wines. The Japanese Government has agreed to further reduce its tariffs on wine. In all cases, we will continue to work with the concerned Governments to pursue the reduction or elimination of the trade barriers to wine. I am optimistic that more progress can and will be made.

Additionally, I would like to point out that three other countries not cited in the reports have taken action to liberalize their import restrictions on wine. Last winter, as part of our implementation of Title IX, we discussed our concerns about barriers to wine trade with the representatives of many countries. Since that time, the Philippines removed its ban on wine imports, Jamaica eliminated its wine import licensing restrictions, and Switzerland opened its quota for bulk red wine imports to all countries thereby providing access for U.S. products.

As you will note in the enclosed reports, our wine exports face a number of barriers that impede trade but that are not necessarily inconsistent with existing international trade rules. Notably, several countries maintain high tariff barriers. Under current law, I have no tariff-cutting authority to negotiate reductions in foreign tariffs, a problem that also confronts other U.S. exports. As I said in my speech of September 23 on international trade, this is an area where I look forward to working with the Congress to put into place legislation that will help us promote U.S. exports.

Sincerely,

Ronald Reagan

Note: Identical letters were sent to Robert Dole, chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, and Dan Rostenkowski, chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means.