Distilled Spirits Council of the United States President & CEO Chris Swonger released the following statement on the signing of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA):
“The USMCA is a tremendous achievement that will reaffirm free trade with two of the United States’ most important export markets. Without tariffs to impede business, the spirits industry will continue to grow and support good-paying jobs in the United States. Distillers, large and small, will have the opportunity to expand their businesses and contribute even more to our economy. We look forward to building upon the success we have had in the past and to many more years of free and fair trade with both Canada and Mexico. We thank the Trump Administration, the House and the Senate for their continued efforts to move this important agreement forward.”
The USMCA includes provisions to:
- Maintain duty-free trade in spirits;
- Preserve recognition for “Bourbon” and “Tennessee Whiskey;”
- Secure Mexico’s agreement to take steps to provide distinctive product recognition for “American Rye Whiskey,” a fast-growing category of American Whiskey;
- Reaffirm commitments concerning the internal sale and distribution of distilled spirits;
- And establish new best practices regarding labeling and certifications for beverage alcohol, which will help to facilitate trade in distilled spirits among the three countries.
The elimination of tariffs under NAFTA in 1995 boosted U.S. spirits exports to Canada by nearly 1,700 percent and to Mexico by approximately 1,500 percent. In 2018, U.S. spirits exports to Canada were valued at more than $234 million. Exports to Mexico in 2018 were valued at $61 million. In 2018, Canada ranked as the top export destination for U.S. spirits exports and Mexico ranked as the ninth largest.