"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)

Thursday, June 23, 2005

A Good Use of Homeland Security Funding 

So, let me get this straight - US winemakers think it's not fair for their French competitors to make inexpensive but generally wholesome wines targeting the US market, while at the same time restricting the sale of watered-down (or otherwise substandard) crap from the US in Europe, and so they want to start a trade war about it. Fine - that's the wonderful world of international business in the WTO age. But get a load of the mechanism the US government is prepared to use in promoting the winemakers' cause (emphasis supplied):
The US administration is threatening a wine war with Europe as French producers target American consumers with new brands such as "Fat Bastard" and "Red Bicycle".

Washington is demanding a new wine accord by July 15 to replace one which expired in 2003 and which would enshrine American wine-making practices banned in Europe.

These include adding oak wood chips to barrels of wine to hasten the ageing process, adding water to must (the grape juice before fermentation is complete), and the use of ion extractors to reduce acidity.

Representatives of struggling French wine producers appealed at the international Vinexpo wine fair in southwestern Bordeaux this week to Agriculture Minister Dominique Bussereau and External Trade Minister Christine Lagarde to protect their interests in the negotiations.

European Union officials, pushed by traditionalists, are so far refusing to extend a current dispensation allowing the American practices, but US officials say that if no agreement is reached they will tighten application of the Bioterrorism Act.

This law, introduced after the September 11 2001 attacks in the United States, covers imports of all food and drink.

Am I to understand that Fat Bastard will be deemed a weapon of bioterrorism, but Thunderbird will not? 'Splain.




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