COUNTRY OF ORIGIN CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS
FOR IMPORTED WINES AND DISTILLED SPIRITS
Proprietors of Distilled Spirits Plants, Bonded Wineries, Importers and
Other Concerned Parties:
Purpose: The purpose of this circular is twofold: (1) to inform U.S.
importers of the availability of an updated and comprehensive listing of
country certification requirements and (2) to notify importers of the
Bureau's position relative to the acceptance of photocopies of original
Background: On September 2, 1987, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and
Firearms (ATF) issued Industry Circular No. 87-5 to advise U.S. importers
of the Bureau's updated Country of Origin certification requirements for
imported wines and distilled spirits.
Since the issuance of this initial circular, the Governments of France,
the Federal Republic of Germany, Mexico, Portugal and the U.S.S.R. have
provided ATF with updated information. These amendments have been
incorporated into a revised listing. This listing can be obtained, free
of charge, by mailing your request to the address provided at the end of
Industry Circular No. 87-5 also concerned the Bureau's decision to accept
photocopies of original certificates of origin issued by the country of
manufacture where the imported wines and distilled spirits were exported
to the United States from a country other than the country of
manufacture. This was a departure from our long-standing policy to
accept only original certificates for wines and distilled spirits bottled
in the country of manufacture and exported to the United States. After
an internal review of this change and a survey of those countries which
certify their exports under 27 CFR §§ 4.45 and 5.52, we have decided to
rescind the authorization for the use of photocopies and require only
original certificates of origin issued by the country of manufacture.
Requirements: Certificate of origin requirements for imported wines
and distilled spirits appear in 27 CFR §§§ 4.45, 5.52 and 5.56.
It should be noted that the final decision, whether or not to permit
entry of imported alcoholic beverages which require certification by the
country of manufacture, rests with the Customs Officials at the port of
entry. However, it is the Bureau's position that the intent of the
regulations can be met only if a specific certificate can be tied to a
specific lot(s) of product.
Action: ATF has officially notified the United States Customs Service
that all imported wines and distilled spirits covered by a compulsory
certificate of origin are not to be released from Customs Custody unless
the invoice is accompanied by the original and appropriate certificate.
This industry circular supercedes the instructions contained in Industry
Inquiries: Inquiries concerning this circular should refer to its
number and be addressed to Chief, Alcohol Import-Export Branch - Bureau
of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms - ATTN: Industry Circular No. - P.O. Box
385 - Washington, DC 20226