The Honorable Mitch McConnell
United States Senate
S-230, U.S. Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Leader McConnell:
On behalf of the Distilled Spirits Council, the Kentucky Distillers Association, the American Craft Spirits Association, and the President’s Forum, thank you for your efforts to address our serious concerns that iconic U.S. distilled spirits exports to key markets are subject to retaliatory tariffs in response to unrelated trade actions pursued by the United States.
U.S. spirits exports worth an estimated $759 million are the target of retaliatory tariffs by the European Union, Canada, Mexico, China and Turkey. In fact, 46 percent of global U.S. spirits exports and 65 percent of global U.S. whiskey exports are either currently facing, or are at risk of soon facing, retaliatory tariffs. Once imposed, such tariffs will not only harm spirits producers, but also U.S. farmers, distribution and logistics providers, glass and other packaging suppliers.
American whiskey has been a great American export success story, increasing nearly four-fold in the past 20 years and rising to $1.13 billion in 2017. Exports of all U.S. spirits have nearly tripled during that time, reaching $1.64 billion in 2017. These products are exported from small, medium and large distillers located in 42 states, supporting the direct and indirect employment of an estimated 1.5 million people across America. The attached details the potential impact of retaliatory tariffs on Kentucky-made spirits products.
We hope that Congress, the Administration and our trading partners will focus on de-escalation rather than escalation, and that they will engage in dialogue that results in a solution that leads to the prompt removal of retaliatory tariffs on our exports.
On behalf of our consumers, distillery workers and supply chain partners, we are grateful for your leadership and all you can do to raise these concerns with the President, his Administration and the leaders of our trading partners.