WASHINGTON, DC – The Distilled Spirits Council, representing over 100 distillers of all sizes, today urged the House to pass Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which will further open markets for U.S. distilled spirits exports.

The Senate passed the legislation, H.R. 1314, on May 22 by a vote of 62-37, before the Congressional Memorial Day recess.

“With five straight years of record U.S. spirits export growth to over $1.5 billion in 2014, we need to keep the momentum growing,” said Distilled Spirits Council President and CEO Peter H. Cressy.  “TPA is the critical linchpin for the passage of other important trade agreements that will be hugely beneficial to job growth in the spirits industry, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.”

He cited a number of examples of the significant impact that recent trade agreements have had on U.S. spirits exports:

  • U.S. spirits exports to Korea have increased 71% since the FTA eliminated its 20% tariff on Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey in 2012.
  • U.S. spirits exports to the EU have nearly tripled–to almost $750 million in 2014– since tariffs were eliminated between the U.S. and EU in 1994.
  • U.S. spirits exports to Australia have increased 70% since the FTA entered into force in 2005 eliminating the tariff on all U.S. spirits.

“These are clear cut examples of why open markets are so important to the distilled spirits industry, especially in the emerging markets in Asia but also in Eastern Europe, Latin America and Africa,” said Cressy.

Large American spirits brands such as Jack Daniel’s, Jim Beam, Wild Turkey and Bulleit are exported to as many as 130 countries around the globe.

Passage of TPA also presents an opportunity for the rapidly growing U.S. small distillers, which have grown to more than 700 and are located in virtually every state in the country.

“Many U.S. small distillers increasingly recognize the potential of export markets to help grow their businesses,” said Cressy, adding that a number of small distillers are currently exporting to Canada, Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Cressy pointed out that, since 2005, DISCUS has been running an export promotion program to highlight the wide array of American sprits products.  To date, the Council has organized promotional programs in the following 16 markets: China, Russia, Brazil, India, Hong Kong, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Chile, Bulgaria, Romania, Czech Republic, Germany, Austria & Colombia.