WASHINGTON, DC — The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States today commended the Romanian government for reducing the tariff on U.S. Bourbon to the same rate applied to European Union (EU) whisky and brandy, calling the action “a long-awaited elimination of the discriminatory treatment of U.S. Bourbon products.” Under the Romanian action, effective May 1, tariff rates on U.S. Bourbon will be reduced from 70 percent ad valorem to 35 percent ad valorem, the same rate currently applied to whisky and brandy imported from the EU. “The U.S. spirits industry applauds the tremendous efforts of Ambassador Zoellick and his negotiating team in securing equal treatment for U.S. Bourbon in the Romanian market,” said Debbie Lamb, Distilled Spirits Council Senior Vice President of International Issues & Trade. The Romanian government’s action was prompted in part by a petition filed by the Distilled Spirits Council on Dec. 2, 2002 seeking the withdrawal or suspension of Romania’s benefits under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program. Lamb said that as a result of the Romanian government’s decision, the Distilled Spirits Council is withdrawing the Romanian petition. “Romania’s action creates a significant opportunity for U.S. distillers to expand our Bourbon sales in this growing market,” said Lamb, noting that in 2002 Bourbon accounted for 99 percent of all U.S. spirits exports to Romania. Over the last decade, Bourbon exports worldwide have increased 35 percent from 6.5 million 9-liter cases in 1992 to 8.9 million 9-liter cases in 2002. In 2002, Bourbon exports to 86 countries were valued at $351 million.