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New regulations to protect Mexico's tequila industry

Posted on Dec 14, 12:31PM | IANS

The Mexican government announced Thursday a set of new regulations designed to protect makers of tequila - a key export - from unfair competition.

Norm 006 establishes procedures for obtaining official certification as a tequila distiller or bottler.

Besides addressing techniques of production, the measure lays down standards for how tequila is to be bottled and sold and mandates what kind of information must be included on labels.

"The change in regulations will allow (consumers) to be sure of the authenticity of tequila ... permitting producers and marketers to better place their product in various market niches," the Economic Secretariat said.

The proclamation of Norm 006 followed calls from tequila makers for tighter regulation and the imposition of labeling standards to clearly distinguish agave-based drinks from cheaper tipples made using derivatives of the plant.

Sales of those cheaper beverages have surged in Mexico in recent years.

The three spirits distilled from agave - tequila, mezcal and bacanora - together account for a third of alcoholic beverage sales in Mexico.