The United States is a participant in the World Wine Trade Group (WWTG), an informal grouping of government and industry representatives from the wine-producing countries of Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Georgia, New Zealand, the United States, and South Africa.
The WWTG, which was founded in 1998, aims to share information and collaborate on a variety of international issues and endeavors to create new opportunities for wine trade.
The participants share the responsibility of chairing the WWTG, with the position rotating on an annual basis. As of June 2014, Georgia is chairing the WWTG. Australia will take the position next.
The Mutual Acceptance Agreement on Oenological Practices (MAA) was signed in Toronto, Canada in December 2001 by the United States and Canada. Argentina became a signatory in December 2002. By 2005, all WWTG participants had ratified the MAA with the exception of South Africa, which ratified the MAA in 2011. The MAA seeks to facilitate trade in wine by acknowledging differences in oenological practices and ensuring that wine is allowed to be sold in all signatory countries' markets despite these differences. At the same time, it places an emphasis on compliance with the World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations to protect the health and safety of consumers and to prevent deception of consumers. The newest WWTG participant, Georgia, signed the MAA in October 2010.
After completion of the Agreement on Oenological Practices, the WWTG turned its attention to labeling issues. The Agreement on Requirements for Wine Labeling was initialed on September 20, 2006 and signed on January 23, 2007 in Canberra, Australia, by all participants with the exception of South Africa. With this Agreement, which harmonizes some common labeling requirements, the WWTG seeks to minimize unnecessary trade barriers, and thereby facilitate international trade in wine.
In October 2011, the United States, along with representatives from Argentina, Australia, Chile, Georgia, and New Zealand, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Certification Requirements, which aims to reduce barriers to international wine trade and support exporters of wine in each participating country by encouraging the elimination of burdensome requirements and routine certifications of wine products and ingredients.
The WWTG continues its outreach to other wine producing countries, such as Brazil, Uruguay, and China, to facilitate import and export markets for the wine trade.