Spirits Coalition Speaks Out Against New EU Tariffs on U.S. Spirits

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A coalition of 20 trade associations warned in a released statement that new European Union tariffs will further damage a once-booming transatlantic drinks trade.

The coalition represents the U.S., EU and United Kingdom wine and distilled spirits and related sectors and claims that the added tariffs of 25% on U.S. rum, brandy, vodka and vermouth would increase the tensions around Airbus and Boeing disputes and further degrade the situation facing wine and spirits industries since tariffs were first levied in 2018.

In October 2019, the U.S. imposed a 25 percent tariff on Single Malt Scotch Whisky; Single Malt Irish Whiskey from Northern Ireland; liqueurs and cordials from Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom, as well as certain wines from Germany, France, Spain and the UK. That resulted in a painful 34% decline in Scotch Whisky exports, a 28% decline in liqueurs and cordials exports and a 54% decline in wine exports, the coalition said in the statement.

Similarly, the EU have imposed a 25 percent tariff on bourbon and other U.S. whiskeys since June 2018 in response to U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum, which has resulted in a 41% decline in American Whiskey exports to the EU, costing producers $300 million, according to the released statement. The coalition also noted that the imposition of additional tariffs would force more businesses to close their doors and lay off more workers in sectors already severely weakened because of the global pandemic & related restrictions.

The coalition is made up of the Distilled Spirits Council Of The United StatesSpiritsEUROPEScotch Whisky AssociationComité Européen Des Entreprises VinsWine InstituteAmerican Beverage LicenseesWineAmericaWine & Spirits Wholesalers Of AmericaNational Retail FederationAmerican Craft Spirits AssociationAmerican Distilled Spirits AllianceU.S. Wine Trade AllianceNational Council Of Chain RestaurantsKentucky Distillers’ AssociationNational Restaurant AssociationNational Association Of Beverage ImportersNational Association Of Wine Retailers, The Wine and Spirits Trade Association, Napa Valley Vintners, and Wine And Spirits Shippers Association.

“The U.S. and EU need to return to the negotiating table without delay,” the coalition said. “They need to immediately suspend the current tariffs as they negotiate an agreement to simultaneously eliminate additional tariffs on distilled spirits and wine in these disputes unrelated to the sector.”

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