Congressional Bourbon Caucus Calls on Biden Administration to Thwart Whiskey Tariffs


April 6, 2021

The Congressional Bourbon Caucus submitted a letter to Katherine Tai, the newly-confirmed U.S. Trade Representative, to work with the EU and UK to immediately suspend tariffs on American whiskey exports.

The letter was drafted and submitted by the caucus’ co-chairs, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth and Rep. Andy Barr, and signed by 48 fellow representatives. The letter cites the tariffs as the primary factor in the recent decline in U.S. whiskey exports and on other distilled spirits and wine. The current 25 percent EU and UK tariff imposed on American Whiskey, in effect since June of 2018, is currently set to double to 50 percent on June 1, 2021.

Some tariffs have been temporarily suspended as the Biden administration works to resolve an ongoing WTO aircraft dispute, the Caucus says in a news release, but the members urge Tai to work with her counterparts to remove all tariffs affecting distilled spirits and wine.

“These tariffs have damaged what had been a great American export success story for many years,” the Members write to Tai. “American Whiskey exports to the EU, our largest export market, grew from $502 million in 2008 to $702 million in 2018, an increase of 40 percent. Since the tariffs were imposed, our American Whiskey exports to the EU have declined by 37 percent and to the UK by 53 percent.”

A copy of the letter can be found here.