U.S., EU and UK Beverage Alcohol Associations Call for Immediate Suspension of Tariffs on Spirits and Wine

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A coalition of 21 trade associations representing U.S., European Union, and United Kingdom wine, distilled spirits and related sectors today expressed disappointment in new U.S. tariffs going into effect today on certain Cognac, other grape brandies and non-sparkling wine from France and Germany.  

“We are extremely disappointed with the imposition of additional excessive tariffs on certain Cognacs, other brandies and wines from France and Germany. These tariffs will just compound the harm caused by existing tariffs. The added pressure resulting from these tariffs will force more businesses to close their doors and more workers to be laid off in sectors already negatively impacted by the global pandemic,” said the coalition.

Since June 2018, there has been a steady escalation in the number of tariffs on distilled spirits and wines on both sides of the Atlantic as part of unrelated trade disputes. These 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.  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 added.

The coalition is made up of the  Distilled Spirits Council of the United StatesSpiritsEUROPEComité 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.

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BACKGROUND:

  • On December 30, 2020 USTR announced new 25 percent tariffs on certain Cognac, other grape brandies and non-sparkling wine from France and Germany.  These tariffs apply to Cognac and other grape brandies valued at $38 per proof liter and above ($22.80 for a 750 ml bottle at 40% abv) and non-sparkling wines that are entered for consumption, or withdrawn from a warehouse for consumption, on or after 12:01 a.m. eastern standard time on Tuesday, January 12, 2021.

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