Brussels (Brussels Morning) A bipartisan group of roughly 50 US Congress members has called on US Trade Representative Katherine Tai to push for the scrapping of EU and UK tariffs on US whiskey, Reuters reports.
The EU and the UK had imposed 25% tariffs on whiskey in June 2018 in retaliation for US tariffs on aluminium and steel.
The group of lawmakers headed by Democrat John Yarmuth and Republican Andy Barr warned that EU and UK tariffs are due to double to 50% at the start of June and noted the harm to US exports.
Tariffs caused drop in exports to EU and UK
“Since the tariffs were imposed, our American whiskey exports to the EU have declined by 37% and to the UK by 53%”, the group pointed out in its submission.
Distilled Spirits Council of the US (DISCUS) trade association spokeswoman Lisa Hawkins said the tariffs were jeopardising craft distilleries across the US.
“American whiskey distillers have suffered long enough from these trade disputes and the doubling of the EU’s tariff on June 1 will cause irreparable harm to our once booming exports”, she declared.
The lawmakers said they hoped recent progress in the trade dispute over subsidies provided to the US Boeing aerospace company and to its EU counterpart Airbus would result in the “prompt removal of all tariffs on US, EU and UK wine and distilled spirits”.
Lifting tariffs would speed recovery
Lifting the tariffs would help bars, restaurants and craft distilleries to recover from the coronavirus crisis, they added, noting that many had been forced to close in keeping with pandemic control measures
US Secretary of Commerce, Gina Raimondo, pointed out how US tariffs on aluminium and steel had effectively protected metal producers in the US.
Trade Representative Tai said it was important to find a global solution to resolve the metal industry’s issues, while acknowledging that excess aluminium and steel production capacities should be reduced.