The North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA is an agreement signed by the governments of Canada, Mexico, and the United States, creating a trilateral trade bloc in North America. The agreement came into force on January 1, 1994. It superseded the Canada – United States Free Trade Agreement between the U.S. and Canada.
The Agreement is the first multi-lateral Mutual Acceptance Agreement, in any field, fully compliant with the WTO’s Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement. For winemakers, exporters and importers the implications of the Agreement assures access to markets without the costs and frustrations of barriers to trade based on differences in oenological practices.
On September 16, 2003, the Government of Canada and the European Union (EU) signed an agreement on wines and spirits to maintain stability in Canada’s domestic marketing and distribution practices and significantly open the European market to Canadian products. Negotiations began on the Canada-EC Wine and Spirits Agreement in November 2001 and were concluded in April 2003. The agreement came into force on June 1, 2004.
Wine industry and government representatives from the US, Chile, Australia, Argentina, New Zealand and Canada reached agreement on standardizing the information on wine labels and inclusion of an Icewine definition.
The MOU states that participating countries should not require certification related to vintage, varietal or regional claims for a wine unless they have legitimate concerns about such claims. If participants find certification to be necessary, the MOU encourages them to accept certificates issued by the official certification body or by an officially recognized certification body of the exporting country. The MOU seeks to reduce the need for routine certification requirements, while protecting the rights of each participant to require certification for health and safety reasons and does not affect members’ international rights or obligations. Likewise, the MOU does not affect labeling pre-approval, bioterrorism controls, or ad hoc testing by an importing country.