Distilled Spirits Council of the United States President & CEO Chris Swonger released the following statement applauding Senate passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA):
“The USMCA will help ensure the continued growth of the U.S. spirits industry, promote job growth and drive economic prosperity in the United States. We are grateful to President Trump and members from both sides of the aisle in the House and Senate for their advocacy on this issue. The bipartisan agreement supports distillers, farmers and supply chain manufacturers and is evidence of the administration’s commitment to two of our largest export markets. We look forward to building upon the success we have had in the past and to many more years of free and fair trade with both Canada and Mexico.”
The USMCA includes provisions to:
- Maintain duty-free trade in spirits;
- Preserve recognition for “Bourbon” and “Tennessee Whiskey;”
- Secure Mexico’s agreement to take steps to provide distinctive product recognition for “American Rye Whiskey,” a fast-growing category of American Whiskey;
- Reaffirm commitments concerning the internal sale and distribution of distilled spirits;
- And establish new best practices regarding labeling and certifications for beverage alcohol, which will help to facilitate trade in distilled spirits among the three countries.
With Senate passage of the USMCA, the agreement will now be sent to the president for his signature. The elimination of tariffs under NAFTA in 1995 boosted U.S. spirits exports to Canada by nearly 1,700 percent and to Mexico by approximately 1,500 percent. In 2018, U.S. spirits exports to Canada were valued at more than $234 million. Exports to Mexico in 2018 were valued at $61 million. In 2018, Canada ranked as the top export destination for U.S. spirits exports and Mexico ranked as the ninth largest.