Distilled Spirits Council Statement Regarding the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) Decision to Impose Additional Retaliatory Tariffs on EU Spirits Products Including Cognac

“We are extremely disappointed that the U.S. has announced it will impose more tariffs on additional categories of imports of EU distilled spirits in connection with the civil aircraft subsidy disputes, including certain Cognacs and other non-grape brandies. These tariffs not only harm EU spirits producers, they also disrupt and negatively impact the entire U.S. hospitality industry supply chain.  Hospitality businesses and our consumers, as well as producers, wholesalers and importers of distilled spirits are collateral damage in a dispute wholly unrelated to the drinks business. These tariffs are continuing to have a devastating impact on our businesses, which are also suffering due to the closings of restaurants, bars, and distillery tasting rooms because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  We continue to urge the EU and the US to negotiate an agreement that will end the excessive and unwarranted tariffs on distilled spirits across the Atlantic without any further delay.”



  • USTR announced yesterday that new 25 percent tariffs will be imposed on certain Cognac, other non-grape brandies and non-sparkling wine from France and Germany.
  • The tariffs will apply to products that are entered for consumption, or withdrawn from a warehouse for consumption, on or after 12:01 a.m. eastern standard time on Tuesday, January 12, 2021.

Tariff Timeline:

  • In June 2018, the EU (which includes the UK until it departs the EU customs union on December 31, 2020) imposed a 25% retaliatory tariff on American Whiskey in response to U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.
  • Since October 18, 2019, the U.S. has imposed a 25 percent tariff on imports of Single Malt Scotch Whisky; Single Malt Irish Whiskey from Northern Ireland; liqueurs and cordials from Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom, and certain wines from Germany, France, Spain & the UK in connection to the WTO Airbus dispute.
  • On November 10, 2020, the EU imposed a 25% retaliatory tariff on imports of U.S. rum, brandy, vodka and vermouth regarding the WTO Boeing dispute.