Monday, February 01, 2010

Senator Charles Schumer Fights Repeal of NY Wine Laws

Proposal may hurt NY wines
By Julie Sherwood, staff writer
Messenger Post
Posted Jan 28, 2010 @ 08:15 PM
Canandaigua, N.Y. —

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer is urging federal officials to keep a program that protects the overseas market for New York wines. Schumer’s statements came as President Barack Obama called for trade policies to support U.S. exports in his State of the Union address last night. In the speech, Obama spoke in favor of policies to boost the export of U.S. products and get rid of tax breaks for American businesses sending jobs overseas.

However, the so-called Substitution Drawback Program is in jeopardy because two powerful agencies in the Obama administration — the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, and the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau — want it repealed.“There is no good reason to alter the policy,” Schumer said Wednesday. Repealing the program “would raise havoc on the New York wine industry.”

Under the program, any federal duty or tax an American winery pays on wine imported from another country is refunded when that same winery exports its American-made wine of roughly the same value. Current duties and taxes on wine imports total about $1.30 per gallon.

Schumer said the refund is a significant incentive for companies to export wine overseas, allowing wine companies to price those bottles more competitively, boosting sales and revenue.

In a separate matter also related to state wine sales, Schumer said he is tackling the problem of a Canadian border-patrol policy that prevents virtually all Canadian visitors from buying our wine. When returning home, Canadians get hit with duties and taxes of 80-to-100 percent of the cost of a bottle of wine. In other words, a $20 bottle costs nearly double after travelers cross the border into Canada.

On the flip side, U.S. tourists returning from Canada are able to bring back two bottles of Canadian wine, duty free, said Schumer.