For Immediate Release:                                                                                     Contact: Lisa Hawkins, 202-256-1330

March 4, 2021                                                                                                            

  Distilled Spirits Council Statement Regarding U.S.-UK Announcement to

De-escalate Trade Tensions

The U.S. and UK governments’ commitment to de-escalate trade tensions represents a fresh start to trade relations under the Biden administration and is a hopeful sign that a resolution to the tariffs on U.S. & UK spirits may be in reach.  While we welcome the U.S. decision to suspend the retaliatory tariffs on UK distilled spirits for four months, we are greatly disappointed that the UK’s debilitating tariff on American Whiskey remains in place.  American Whiskey exports to the UK, our fourth largest market, have declined by 53 percent, from $150 to $71 million since the imposition of tariffs (2018-2020).

We urge the U.S. and UK to build on this positive momentum by negotiating an agreement to simultaneously eliminate retaliatory tariffs on all distilled spirits, which will benefit hospitality businesses on both sides of the Atlantic that are struggling to recover and rebuild from the global pandemic.



On December 8 2020, the UK announced it would not maintain the tariff that the EU imposed in the Boeing dispute on U.S. rum, brandy and vodka when it departed the EU Customs Union on January 1, 2021. However, the UK is maintaining the 25% tariff on American Whiskey as it evaluates its response to U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs.

Timeline and Impact of U.S.-EU-UK-Retaliatory Tariffs on Distilled Spirits