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US Tariffs on Wine and Spirits

US TariffsSix months ago, the US imposed hefty tariffs on the import of some European wines, whiskies and liqueurs following a long running dispute over EU import tariffs and subsidies. Last December, the US government considered imposing similar US tariffs on other EU wines and spirits, including cognac, and raising tariffs by up to 100%. Fortunately for our industry, the situation remained unchanged but Scottish whisky and American whiskey have already suffered huge export losses. Spirits Europe and Discus (Distilled Spirits Council of the US) are now advocating free trade between the US and the EU as they are each other’s biggest spirits export destinations. The DG of Spirits Europe said “… amidst recent EU-US trade tensions, our sector has been turned into a hallmark example of the considerable, yet entirely avoidable economic risks and damage whenever free trade is interrupted by tariffs.”  As the UK prepares to leave the EU, it will have the opportunity to step away from these retaliatory tariffs but of course our much loved French brandies will still be affected.