Mexico - Draft Standard on Tequila
In 2003, the Mexican Government developed a draft standard that would have required the bottling of tequila at the source, effectively banning bulk exports of tequila to the United States. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) generally prohibits parties from adopting export restrictions for goods destined to another NAFTA country. Following over two years of negotiation, the United States and Mexico signed an agreement that maintains the existing free trade in bulk tequila to the United States. Imports of tequila shipped in bulk and bottled in the United States represent about $560 million in gross revenues for U.S. industry.
European Union Pressure Equipment Directive
In May 2002, the EU Pressure Equipment Directive (PED) entered into force, imposing new requirements on manufacturers of such equipment. Previously, pressure equipment manufacturers could demonstrate conformity based on standards for material specifications, including the U.S. ASME Code. Manufacturers using the ASME Code may now be excluded from the EU market because the European standards incorporate material specifications slightly different from those found in the ASME Code. In the absence of a full set of harmonized EU standards, the PED permits manufacturers to file for an EAM (European Approval of Materials); however, few requests for EAMs have been approved so far. Another option, the Particular Material Appraisal (PMA), is a costly process for which there are no clearly defined procedures in the PED. In light of these factors, U.S. manufacturers seek continued acceptance of materials that meet the ASME code that have been widely used in Europe for Decades prior to the PED. In an effort to bring the two sides closer together, U.S. and EU officials and stakeholders agreed to a pilot project to eliminate redundant testing requirements for materials. The two sides are working on the beginnings of technical cooperation, starting with an attempt to harmonize several testing standards.