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BAA reports on recent GATT findings.

The GATT panel that examined Canadian complaints about the U.S. brewing industry has made its recommendations, which are to be released to all member countries on March 16. The panel's findings were reported in the most recent Brewer's Association of America (BAA) newsletter. The report added that Australia and New Zealand had lent their support to Canada's complaint.

According to the BAA report, the panel concluded that favorable tax treatment for smaller brewers was inconsistent with GATT policy, stating "the provision of a lower rate of federal excise tax on domestic beer from qualifying United States producers, which lower rate is not available in the case of imported beer, is inconsistent with Article III.2, first sentence, and is not covered by Article III.8(b)."

In addition, the panel found excise tax exemptions and reductions in the states of New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Kentucky, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Puerto Rico were inconsistent with GATT articles.

Requirements in Arizona, California, Maine, Mississippi and South Carolina that imported beer be transported by common carrier were also inconsistent with GATT.

Furthermore, the panel stated that regulations in 27 states exempting small producers from state requirements to use wholesalers were inconsistent. Requirements in some states that imported beer be subject to higher licensing fees or price affirmation requirements were also cited.

The panel also rejected a finding that the state wholesaler distribution requirements in Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Oregon, Texas and Utah are "mandatory existing legislation" in terms of the protocol of provision application.

In conclusion, the panel stated that "the contracting parties request the United States to bring its inconsistent federal and state measures into conformity with its obligations under the General Agreement.
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Title Annotation:Brewer's Association of America; General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:Mar 16, 1992
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