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A new report from the Distilled Spirits Council of the US has revealed a slide in 2019 American whiskey exports to the European Union.

DISCUS called for an end to international tariff feuds

DISCUS called for an end to international tariff feuds

According to the Distilled Spirits Council Economic Report, data from the US International Trade Commission shows that the EU's 25% retaliatory tariff on American whiskey caused exports to the EU to tumble by 27% in 2019, compared to 2018. Global exports of American whiskey have declined 16% and global spirits exports are down 14.3% over the same period.

"The data is clear," said DISCUS president & CEO Chris Swonger. "These tariffs are chipping away at American whiskey's brand equity in our top export markets. These great American whiskey products that have been the toast of the global cocktail scene are struggling under the weight of the EU tariffs."

Elsewhere, in the US, supplier sales were up 5.3% in 2019, rising US$1.5bn to a record total of $29bn, while volumes rose 3.3% to 239m cases, up 7.6m cases from the prior year.

Spirits also gained market share versus beer and wine in full-year 2019, with sales rising half a percentage point to 37.8% of the total beverage alcohol market. DISCUS said the increase marks the tenth straight year of market share gains for spirits overall, where each point of market share is worth $770m in supplier sales revenue.

"We are now gravely concerned that the US tariffs on EU spirits imports will have the same deleterious effect in the United States [as the whiskey tariffs]," said Swonger. "If this trade dispute is not resolved soon, we will more than likely be reporting a similar drag on the US spirits sector, jeopardising American jobs and our record of solid growth in the US market."

Last month, two major trade organisations for the European and US spirits industries came together to call for an "urgent return" to tariff-free transatlantic trade.

"US craft distillers are saying their calls aren't being returned" - just-drinks speaks to Distilled Spirits Council CEO Chris Swonger


Sectors: Spirits

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