The Distilled Spirits Council today issued the following statement in response to China imposing a 25 percent tariff on U.S. whiskey products.

“Imposing 25 percent tariffs on U.S. whiskeys could put the brakes on an American export success story,” said Senior Vice President of International Trade Christine LoCascio. “American spirits exports to China have grown by almost 1,200 percent, from $959,000 in 2001 to $12.8 million in 2017.

“We hope the United States and China can soon resolve their differences so that U.S. whiskey exports to China will no longer be subject to the 25 percent tariff, which will harm Chinese consumers, its hospitality sector, U.S. whiskey exporters and the U.S. farmers that supply them.”

Total U.S. spirits imports to China in 2017 were valued at $12.8 million; of this $8.9 million was whiskey. The Council has conducted a U.S. spirits export promotion program, now featuring an American Whiskey ambassador, in China since 2007.

“Chinese consumers, like others around the globe, are clearly finding favor with the flavor, heritage and mixability of American Whiskey. It would be a shame to punish those consumers, along with the Chinese hospitality sector, as an unintended consequence of this trade dispute,” LoCascio concluded.

The Distilled Spirits Council strongly supported China’s entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001. This resulted in a dramatic reduction in China’s tariffs on U.S. spirits, from 65 percent to 10 percent ad valorem.  In addition, China last year further lowered its tariffs on whiskeys and brandies to 5 percent as part of a wider effort to lower tariffs on a range of consumer goods imports.