Statement by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States Regarding UK Department of International Trade Announcement to Suspend Retaliatory Tariffs Against the U.S. as Part of the Airbus-Boeing Dispute

We applaud the UK government for its decision to suspend the recent retaliatory tariffs on U.S. rum, brandy, and vodka. This is a hopeful sign that a resolution to the debilitating tariffs on U.S. & UK spirits may be in reach. We urge the United States to seize this opportunity to intensify its engagement with the UK to settle the WTO Boeing/Airbus disputes as well as the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs.

We call on the U.S. and UK to build on this positive momentum by eliminating the UK’s retaliatory tariff on American Whiskey and U.S. tariffs on Single Malt Scotch, Single Malt Irish Whiskey from Northern Ireland and liqueurs and cordials.  Since the EU’s 25 percent retaliatory tariff went into effect in June 2018, American Whiskey exports to the UK, our second largest American Whiskey export market, have tumbled by 55 percent.

As the new year approaches, we urge both the U.S. and UK to seek a fresh start to trade relations by immediately suspending tariffs on U.S. and UK distilled spirits as they negotiate an agreement to simultaneously eliminate retaliatory tariffs on distilled spirits, which will benefit the struggling hospitality businesses on both sides of the Atlantic.



  • 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.