WASHINGTON, DC – The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States today applauded the U.S. trade negotiating team for completing free trade agreement negotiations with the Republic of Korea.  The agreement announced yesterday will result in the swift elimination of Korea’s tariffs on U.S. spirits, which are currently set at 20% ad valorem, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.

“This agreement is a tremendous achievement for the United States. It will result in tangible and immediate benefits for the U.S. distilled spirits industry,” said Distilled Spirits Council Vice President Christine LoCascio, who noted that under the agreement, Korea’s tariffs on Bourbon Whiskey and Tennessee Whiskey, which are the United States’ leading spirits exports, will be eliminated immediately upon entry into force of the agreement.

Tariffs on all other categories of U.S. spirits, such as vodka, gin, rum, etc., will be eliminated five years after the agreement enters into force.

“With a spirits market valued at $2.8 billion in 2004, Korea is one of the most promising markets in Asia for U.S. spirits exports,” said LoCascio.  “It is clear that the U.S. spirits industry will benefit significantly from the new market opportunities created by the FTA.  We stand ready to support swift Congressional approval of the agreement.”

Exports of Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey accounted for the overwhelming majority of U.S. spirits exports to Korea in 2006.  U.S. exports to Korea were valued at $3.3 million in 2006; Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey accounted for approximately 81% (in value terms) of total exports.