U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai was busy last week. On June 15, she announced an agreement with the EU over the long-running aircraft subsidy dispute that dragged unrelated industries, such as wine and spirits, into the fray.
Under the agreement, the U.S. and EU will implement a 5-year suspension of the 25 percent tariffs imposed by the U.S. in October 2018, which included still wine (14 percent ABV and less) imports from France, Germany, Spain and the UK, transported in 2-liter containers and smaller, as well as other spirits.
For its part, the EU is suspending 25 percent tariffs on U.S. rum, brandy and vodka.
On June 17, the U.S. announced a similar deal with the UK related to retaliatory tariffs on wine and spirits as a result of the disagreement over subsidies to Airbus and Boeing.
However, U.S. exports of American whiskeys and bourbon to the EU and UK are still subject to retaliatory tariffs, but the snare is related to trade in aluminum and steel, rather than aircraft.
The Distilled Spirits Council’s Chris Swonger, president and CEO, noted that American whiskeys therefore remain “at a serious disadvantage in the UK and EU, our two most important export markets.”