Distilled Spirits Council President & CEO Chris Swonger Statement on the U.S. and EU Agreement to Extend the Suspension of EU Tariffs on American Whiskey until March 31, 2025

“We greatly appreciate the efforts of the Biden administration to secure an extended suspension of the EU’s retaliatory tariffs on American Whiskeys. This agreement is welcome news for U.S. distillers across the country who were facing the reimposition and doubling of the EU tariff to 50% in the new year.

“We urge the Biden administration to continue striving for a permanent end to all debilitating tariffs in disputes unrelated to the spirits sector. Until the threat of these tariffs returning is fully removed, the uncertainty will continue to restrict American Whiskey export growth in our most important international market.

“The U.S. distilled spirits industry has worked hard to regain its footing in the EU market since the EU suspended its 25% retaliatory tariff on American Whiskeys in January 2022. The U.S. spirits industry has seen positive results, with American Whiskey exports to the EU bouncing back to surpass pre-tariff levels.

“This extended tariff suspension allows U.S. spirits exporters to continue their efforts to highlight the unique quality, tastes and versatility of American spirits in the EU market.”


Background on U.S./EU steel and aluminum dispute:

  • In June 2018, the EU imposed a 25% retaliatory tariff on American Whiskeys in response to U.S. Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum.
  • Due to the imposition of the retaliatory tariff, American Whiskey exports to the EU, our largest American Whiskey export market, plunged 20%, from $552 million to $440 million (2018-2021).
  • In October 2022, the U.S. and EU agreed to suspend the EU’s 25% retaliatory tariff on American Whiskeys for two years starting January 1, 2022.
  • As a result of the tariff suspension, American Whiskey exports to the EU increased by 29% in 2022 compared to 2021, reaching $566 million in 2022. This accounted for 44% of all American Whiskey exports, surpassing the pre-tariff level of $518 million in 2017. Through October 2023 (latest data available), American Whiskey exports to the EU are up nearly 64% as compared to the same period in 2022 (January-October).