Tariff war will cause drinks businesses to go bust, trade bodies warn

Drinks producers will be forced to close their doors and lay off staff after the U.S. ramped up its tariff war with the EU, trade associations have warned.

New 25% U.S. tariffs on certain cognacs, other grape brandies and wines from France and Germany went into effect today.

It is the latest salvo in a long-running trade dispute stemming from subsidies awarded to Boeing and Airbus.

The drinks industry has been caught in the crossfire. Since June 2018, there has been a steady escalation in the number of tariffs imposed upon spirits and wines on either side of the Atlantic, and exports have plummeted as a result.

A coalition of 21 trade associations representing U.S., EU and UK wine and spirits sectors warned that the tariffs are having a damaging ripple effect throughout the entire industry.

The widespread harm impacts distillery and winery workers, importers, exporters, distributors, retail and restaurant workers, farmers, packaging companies that provide the containers, caps and lids, and truckers, freight forwarders and logistic providers that get these products through customs.

“The spirits and wine industries have been suffering since the imposition of retaliatory tariffs in 2018 related to disputes wholly unrelated to the drinks business,” said the coalition. “It is beyond time for these unwarranted and excessive tariffs to be suspended.

“We are strongly urging the U.S., EU, and UK to return to the negotiating table without delay and reach an agreement to immediately suspend these tariffs.”

The coalition is made up of the  Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, SpiritsEUROPEComité Européen Des Entreprises VinsWine InstituteScotch Whisky AssociationAmerican Beverage LicenseesWineAmericaWine & Spirits Wholesalers Of AmericaNational Retail FederationAmerican Craft Spirits AssociationAmerican Distilled Spirits AllianceU.S. Wine Trade AllianceNational Council Of Chain RestaurantsKentucky Distillers’ AssociationNational Restaurant AssociationNational Association Of Beverage ImportersNational Association Of Wine RetailersThe Wine And Spirit Trade AssociationNorth American Shippers AssociationNapa Valley Vintners, and Wine And Spirits Shippers Association.