This week the Senate confirmed President Biden’s pick for U.S. Trade Representative, Katherine Tai. Her appointment received unanimous support from the Senate, which in itself was historic. Likewise, her experience and pragmatism are viewed positively throughout the trade community, which is eager to see more balance and predictability in U.S. trade policy, and less antagonism of trade partners and the imposition of retaliatory tariffs.
Michael Kaiser, vice president of government affairs for Washington, D.C.-based WineAmerica, told VinRoutes that, “We are happy with the confirmation of Trade Representative Tai as USTR. As a former trade counsel with the House Ways and Means Committee, and [trade lawyer] under the Obama administration, she knows these disputes really well,” he said, referring to the aircraft subsidies dispute between the U.S. and EU that resulted in retaliatory tariffs on wine trade.
“We believe this truly brings a fresh start to the U.S. trade agenda,” said Kaiser.
“I also want to highlight her work on China issues under the Obama administration. Obviously, outside of the US-EU wine trade issues, China was a big concern for us as well under the Trump administration. As it stands now, there is a 93 percent mark-up of U.S. wine in China right now.”
There is other good news on the wine trade front. On March 5, the U.S. and EU announced a four-month suspension of tariffs related to the aircraft subsidies dispute.
“We hope this is a first step towards a full resolution on this issue,” Kaiser added.
“As a rule, WineAmerica is against all tariffs. Wine is often caught in the middle of these trade disputes that have nothing to do with us. I can’t say that we expect a resolution, but the four month moratorium is a good first step.”
The US-EU wine tariffs are scheduled for a review later this summer, noted Kaiser.
Although the tariffs “only impact a small few of our members [particularly large wine companies that have some French or Italian wine in their portfolio], “the tariffs do impact the entire U.S. wine supply chain,” said Kaiser.