Spirits Industry Tariff Suspensions Draw Applause from Industry, But American Whiskey Still Suffers

The United States and European Union decided to suspend tariffs impacting the spirits industry for five years during the ongoing Boeing-Airbus trade dispute, and spirits organizations are applauding.

“This agreement is good news for spirits producers who have been hammered by tariffs in recent years, but we need to remove the tariffs on American whiskey,” American Distilled Spirits Alliance (ADSA)  President and CEO Matt Dogali said in a news release. “During his campaign, President Biden committed to rebuilding the Transatlantic alliance and this agreement certainly follows through on that commitment.”

American whiskey remains the only distilled spirit subject to tariffs in the context of ongoing trade disputes between the U.S.-EU-U.K.. American distillers are encouraged by the announcement and look forward to the removal of tariffs on American whiskey, which will allow a return to duty-free trade in distilled spirits.

“The five-year suspension of these tariffs on distilled spirits is happening at a critical time for the U.S. hospitality industry,” Chris Swonger, president and CEO of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States said in a statement. “We appreciate the Biden administration’s work to reset relationships with our trade allies. 

“However, the EU and the UK continue to impose a 25 percent tariff on American Whiskeys as part of the steel and aluminum trade dispute, which has severely damaged what had been for many years a great American export success story. Until steps are taken to permanently remove these tariffs on American Whiskeys, the United States’ largest spirits export category will remain at a serious competitive disadvantage in our two most important export markets.”

“Policymakers and negotiators should push for the immediate removal of tariffs on American whiskey,” added Dogali. “Until those tariffs are addressed, both producers and consumers of American whiskey will continue to be negatively impacted.”

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