Deadline to submit comments on US trade tariffs approaches

The deadline to submit comments on the US government proposal to implement tariffs of up to 100% on European wine and whisk(e)y is set for the 13 January 2020.

Last month it was announced that the US government may increase its tariffs on European wine and Scotch as part of an ongoing dispute over subsidies given to aviation company Airbus. 

This is in addition to a tariff raise of 25%, announced in early October by The United States Trade Representative (USTR).

On 12 December, an updated list of goods was published, including a list of products currently subject to additional duties, and a further list not currently subject to tariffs, which is under consideration for duties of “up to 100%”.

The items currently subject to 25% tariffs include still wine (not over 14% ABV) made in France, Germany, Spain and the UK, transported in containers of 2 litres or less; liqueurs made in Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain and the UK; and Scotch. These products, the US government said, could be subject to further tariffs.

Wines from Italy and Portugal are now being considered as part of a new proposed list. The proposed list also mentions bulk wine, fortified wine and sparkling wine, as well as other whiskies made in Europe, most notably Irish whiskey. Gin, vodka and rum do not appear on the list.

As well as France, Germany, Spain, and the UK, products hailing from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden are now included.

The USTR is now requesting comments on whether the tariff rate should be increased up to a level of 100%.

To submit your comments, please click on the link here. You must submit your comments by 13 January 2020 11:59pm ET.

The full list of items, both those already subject to tariffs and those being proposed, can be found here.

The US National Association of Wine Retailers is campaigning against the implementation of tariffs, and is inviting members of the wine community to email their local government and trade representatives to express their concern. The group has drafted a letter, which can be copied and pasted, and has also provided links to contact relevant parties. Information can be found here. 

The group notes that a 100% rise in tariffs on European wine imports would “likely result” in a 150% price increase for the American consumer. It also noted that, due to the time required for new vines to mature and wine to be made, “it will take at least a decade before the U.S. domestic wine industry could ever be in a position to begin replacing wine imports from the EU”.

According to figures reported on JancisRobinson.com, the Fine Wine Alliance estimates that, should a 100% tariff hike be implemented, the US could see revenue losses of over US$2 billion and around 10,000 jobs under threat.

This follows an earlier announcement in December that the US government was also proposing tariffs of up to 100% on French goods, including sparkling wine, cheese and handbags, valued at US$2.4 billion in retaliation to a French tax placed on American tech companies.

The USTR is also exploring whether to open Section 301 investigations into the digital services taxes of Austria, Italy, and Turkey.

4 Responses to “Deadline to submit comments on US trade tariffs approaches”

  1. James Montemayor says:

    The thing is, none of the sincere efforts to be heard, all petitions for redress of grievances, none of it matter or will change anything. We live in an oligarchy and nothing will change.

  2. John Pickering says:

    I am ia supplier of products to the California wine industry and slapping 100% taxes on incoming European wines will have a terrible effect on the distributors who also handle my customers’ wines. This is going to hurt our industry isntead of helping us. This was NOT well thought out by the administration. No surprise there.

  3. Richard Armendariz says:

    These tariffs are asinine, and will only lead to loss of jobs. This is a very detrimental move by this in ministration.

  4. Maureen says:

    This is what happens when a republican is in the WH.

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