Trade coalition pleads against further EU tariffs on US spirits

A coalition of 20 trade associations representing the US, EU and UK wine and spirits sectors have warned against the introduction of new tariffs.

The coalition insists that new European Union tariffs of 25% on US rum, brandy, vodka and vermouth would increase tensions around the ongoing Airbus and Boeing disputes and further damage the transatlantic drinks trade.

“The application of excessive and unwarranted tariffs has to end,” said the coalition in a statement. “Hospitality businesses and our consumers, as well as producers, wholesalers and importers of distilled spirits, wine, and beer are being slammed from both sides of the Atlantic in an aircraft dispute wholly unrelated to the drinks business.

“This is on top of the closings of restaurants, bars, distilleries and winery tasting rooms because of the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

In October 2019, the US imposed a 25% tariff on single malt scotch and single malt Irish whiskey from Northern Ireland as well as liqueurs and wines from across Europe and the UK.

This has resulted in a 34% decline in scotch whisky exports, a 28% decline in liqueurs exports and a 54% decline in wine exports according to a release by the coalition.

Similarly, the EU imposed a 25% tariff on bourbon and other US whiskeys from June 2018 in response to US tariffs on steel and aluminum, which has resulted in a 41% decline in American whiskey exports to the EU.

“The US and EU need to return to the negotiating table without delay,” the coalition added. “They need to immediately suspend the current tariffs as they negotiate an agreement to simultaneously eliminate additional tariffs on distilled spirits and wine in these disputes unrelated to the sector.”