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Industry Circular

Number: 89-1

Date: January 6, 1989

Department of the Treasury

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms

Washington, DC 20226


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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 certificates.

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 this circular.

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 Circular 87-5.

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

Stephen Higgins


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