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Toasts not Tariffs: EU-U.S. Announcement to Remove Tariffs on American Whiskeys


October 30, 2021 3:09 pm

Statement by Distilled Spirits Council President & CEO Chris Swonger on the EU-U.S. announcement to remove retaliatory tariffs on American Whiskeys as part of the steel-aluminum dispute agreement

“After three very difficult years of sagging American Whiskey exports, the EU and U.S. are back to a zero-for-zero tariff agreement on distilled spirits, which has been instrumental to our export success and job creation on both sides of the Atlantic since 1997.

“Lifting this tariff burden on American Whiskeys not only boosts U.S. distillers and farmers, it also supports the recovery of EU restaurants, bars and distilleries hit hard by the pandemic.

“With the removal of these EU tariffs, we are energized and ready to ramp up our American Whiskey promotions in the EU to re-introduce America’s native spirits to EU consumers and resume a great American export success story.*

“Since the imposition of the EU tariffs, American Whiskey exports to the EU, the U.S. spirits industry’s largest export market, have plunged 37 percent, from $702 million to $440 million (2018-2020). We have a long way to go, but are fully committed to building back American Whiskeys better in the EU.

“Cheers to the Biden administration for their dogged determination to reset trade relations with the EU and bring a stop to the needless damage being done to U.S. businesses caught up in this trade war. The end of this long tariff nightmare is in sight for U.S. distillers, who have struggled with the weight of the tariffs and the pandemic. It’s time for the UK to lift its tariff on American Whiskeys so we can all get back to toasts, not tariffs.”



Over the past 15 years, the Distilled Spirits Council has led an export promotion program in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to showcase American Whiskeys (i.e., Bourbon, Tennessee Whiskey, American Rye Whiskey and American Single Malt Whiskey) and other American spirits in key export markets.

Since that time, total U.S. spirits exports have increased by nearly 66 percent, from $831 million in 2006 to $1.38 billion in 2020. As a partner in USDA’s Market Access Program, DISCUS connects small U.S. distillers with importers around the world and promotes the U.S. spirits sector by educating the hospitality industry, importers, adult consumers and media in key international markets on the taste, heritage and style of American distilled spirits.