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Global tariff threat could derail US spirits growth - Distilled Spirits Council

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The US spirits industry has said it is "extremely concerned" about the threat of retaliatory taxes on American whiskey.

The Distilled Spirits Council wrote an open letter to the US government

The Distilled Spirits Council wrote an open letter to the US government

The European Union last month included whiskey on a list of US exports that could face additional levies if the trading bloc decides to counter US steel and aluminium tariffs. Meanwhile, countries including Canada and China have proposed duties on North American whiskey, with Mexico enforcing a 25% tariff on Tuesday.

In a letter to US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross yesterday, the Distilled Spirits Council, which represents companies including Beam Suntory and Brown-Forman, said any tariffs would "severely harm producers" as well as US farmers and companies involved in the spirits supply chain.

"Global exports of US spirits ... have benefited significantly from the United States' efforts to secure market-opening trade agreements," the council said, adding that in the past 20 years US spirits exports have jumped 185% in value. "However, the imposition of tariffs on these products by our major trading partners threatens to seriously impede the export progress that has benefited our sector and created jobs across the country."

This week, Brown-Forman, which owns the Jack Daniel's brand said the company's in-house distribution in the EU should give it "flexibility and control" if Europe invokes retaliatory taxes on American whiskey.

Global guide to retaliatory tariffs

Europe

  • The EU has proposed a 25% tariff on all US whiskey imports. According to the Distilled Spirits Council, the levy could come into force on 20 June

Canada

  • The US's neighbour has outlined a 10% tax on US whiskey with a possible July deadline

Mexico

  • To the south, Mexico implemented its 25% tariff on US whiskey on 5 June

Turkey

  • The country has proposed a 40% levy on all US spirits for 21 June

China

  • The Asian giant is considering a 25% duty on all US whiskey

Brown-Forman Performance Trends 2013-2017 - results data


Sectors: Legislation, Spirits

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