Toasts Not Tariffs Appeals to Biden Administration to End Tariffs on Spirits, Wine

The Toasts Not Tariffs Coalition, 48 associations representing the entire three-tier chain of the U.S. alcohol industry, sent a letter today to U.S. Trade Rep. Ambassador Tai, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Secretary Vilsack and U.S. Dept. of Commerce Secretary Raimondo to urge the immediate removal of all American, EU and UK taroffs on distilled spirits and wines in connection with unrelated trade disputes.

Recent agreements to suspend tariffs on certain wines and spirits are “a step in the right direction,” the Coalition said in a news release. But the push to lift tariffs on American whiskey, America’s top spirit export, continues. Here is the Coalition’s statement:

The EU and UK continue to impose a 25 percent tariff on American Whiskeys, including Bourbon, Tennessee Whiskey, American Rye Whiskey and American Single Malt Whiskey, which puts these products at a competitive disadvantage in those markets,” said the coalition. “The devastating impact of these tariffs on American whiskey in our most important export markets is clear; since these tariffs were imposed in June 2018, American Whiskey exports have declined by 37 percent to the EU and by 53 percent to the UK.

In exactly 50 days, the EU’s tariff is scheduled to double to 50 percent, further exacerbating the unlevel playing field in the EU market for American Whiskeys. Moreover, we are gravely concerned that if urgent action is not taken to lift these tariffs, many small U.S. distilleries will not be able to recover from the devastating impacts of both the tariffs and the pandemic.

On behalf of producers, importers, wholesalers and retailers that comprise the U.S. hospitality sector, we commend the Biden Administration for working to reestablish positive relationships with the EU and UK. We urge you to continue this positive momentum by prioritizing the permanent removal of EU, UK, and U.S. tariffs on distilled spirits and wine, which will help support U.S. jobs and businesses as the economy continues to recover.

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