Distilled Spirits Council praises US-Mexico-Canada Agreement

The Distilled Spirits Council of the US has applauded the signing of an agreement to move forward with the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The signing follows an agreement reached between the Trump Administration and democratic congressional leadership. 

“The USMCA reaffirms tariff-free trade with two of our largest and most important export markets,” said Chris Swonger, president and CEO of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.

“Since tariffs were eliminated under NAFTA in 1995, US spirits exports to Canada grew by nearly 1,700% and to Mexico by approximately 1,500%.

“We believe the USMCA can build upon the incredible growth in US spirits exports under NAFTA to further increase American spirits exports supporting new, good-paying American manufacturing jobs.”

In addition to preserving duty-free trade in spirits, the USMCA preserves recognition for “Bourbon” and “Tennessee Whiskey”.

This reaffirms commitments concerning the internal sale and distribution of distilled spirits; and establishes new best practices regarding labelling and certifications for beverage alcohol, which will help to facilitate trade in distilled spirits among the three countries.

Additionally, the US secured Mexico’s agreement to take steps to provide distinctive product recognition for “American Rye Whiskey,” a fast-growing category of American Whiskey. 

“The prompt introduction and passage of legislation to implement USMCA will provide certainty to US producers and importers and create new momentum for further discussions with the EU, China and Turkey to secure the swift removal of retaliatory tariffs on American spirits exports and US tariffs on certain EU spirits,” said Swonger.

In 2018, US spirits exports to Canada were valued at more than $234m of which 21% is accounted for by American whiskeys while Mexico was valued at $61m (32% american whiskeys).