The US government is assessing a 25% tariff on imports of Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Irish Whiskey (from Northern Ireland) and liqueurs and cordials from Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain and the UK to the US as well as certain wines from France, Germany, Spain and UK.
“We are united in our opposition to the imposition of tariffs and clear in our view that there are no winners in a trade war,” runs the statement, “Our industries are collateral damage in trade disputes that have nothing to do with the beverage alcohol sector. This new round of tariffs will further damage a transatlantic industry that has already been negatively impacted by the EU’s retaliatory tariff on American Whiskey.”
American Whiskey exports to the EU have faced a 25% tariff since June 2018. Now, certain EU spirits and wines imported into the US face a 25% tariff.
Since the EU’s imposition of tariffs, American Whiskey exports to the EU have decreased nearly 21%.
“These tariffs are greatly harming the industry’s competitiveness, long-standing partnerships, workers and our farm suppliers,” stated the IBAA, “The negative impacts will be compounded by these new tariffs on EU products entering the US. Tariffs are taxes on US consumers who create demand for these products in the US marketplace.”
Importantly, the US and EU wines and spirits sectors are interconnected, with companies owning a range of European and American distinctive spirits and wines in their brand portfolios.
As a result, these new US tariffs on EU spirits and wines could result in the loss of 8,000 “good-paying jobs” across the US beverage alcohol sector from importers, distributors and wholesalers, to the hospitality sector, according to the statement.
Prior to these recent trade disputes, US and EU spirits exporters enjoyed more than two decades of tariff-free access to each other’s markets and US and EU wine exporters faced very low tariffs.
“This open access to each other’s markets has significantly benefitted EU and US distillers, vintners, farmers and the hospitality industry on both sides of the Atlantic, resulting in increased jobs, community investment and consumer choice,” continued the statement, “Additionally, many US wine and spirits exporters may face the increasing likelihood that the EU may respond by imposing more tariffs on US wines and other US spirits products,” it warned.
The drinks industry is now in the busiest quarter of the year for spirits and wine producers on both sides of the Atlantic as consumers gear up for Christmas.
“In order to protect the jobs and communities we support we urgently call on the US and the EU to reach an agreement to de-escalate the current trade disputes by immediately and simultaneously removing the EU’s retaliatory tariff on US whiskey and the US tariffs on EU spirits and wines.”