Distilled Spirits Council of the United States Statement in Response to U.S. Announcement to Maintain Retaliatory Tariffs on EU Distilled Spirits Products

The distilled spirits industry on both sides of the Atlantic has suffered enough.  We urge the Administration and our EU trading partners to de-escalate this trade dispute by simultaneously removing the U.S. tariffs on EU beverage alcohol products and the EU’s tariff on American Whiskey.

Since October 18, 2019, the U.S. has imposed a 25% tariff on imports of Single Malt Scotch Whisky; Single Malt Irish Whiskey from Northern Ireland; and liqueurs and cordials from Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and United Kingdom.  Based on the Administration’s announcement this evening, these tariffs will remain in place.

Additionally, since June 22, 2018, the EU has imposed a retaliatory tariff of 25% on all U.S. Whiskey imports.  According to new data released this week from the U.S. International Trade Commission, the EU’s 25% retaliatory tariff on American Whiskey caused exports to the EU, the U.S. spirits industry’s largest export market, to tumble 27% in 2019 compared to 2018. Global exports of American Whiskey have declined 16% and global spirits exports are down 14.3% over the same timeframe.

It has become abundantly clear that tariffs on distilled spirits products are causing rough seas on both sides of the Atlantic. We are gravely concerned that if these disputes are not resolved soon, these U.S. tariffs on EU spirits imports will cause a similar drag on the U.S. economy, jeopardizing American companies and jobs.

The longer these disputes are unresolved, the greater the threat of even more tariffs on our industry.  Specifically, the EU has stated it may impose retaliatory tariffs this Spring on U.S. rum, vodka, and brandy in its parallel case at the WTO concerning Boeing.  In addition, the EU is scheduled to increase its retaliatory tariff on American Whiskey to 50% in Spring 2021.

We urge both sides to resolve these disputes so that consumers can enjoy #ToastsNotTariffs.

-30-