Houston, we’ve got a problem. Forget the Russian meddling in the U.S. election story, that’s old news. What’s more important right now at the G20 Summit in Germany is a threat of the European Union (EU) to ban Bourbon from their shores.
In what some have called a tit-for-tat move as President Donald Trump has threatened to block steel imports into the U.S., EU leaders have already responded to say that it will cut-off the importation of Bourbon onto their shores. In this tangled web of whiskey, Kentucky is the home state of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the home to 95% of the world’s bourbon supply. McConnell knows that Bourbon represents nearly $8.5 Billion in revenue to the state. The EU has also threatened other agricultural markets including orange juice, tomatoes and dairy.
Here’s the statement from the Distilled Spirits Council
Distilled Spirits Council Says Potential EU Retaliation Threat Against Bourbon Would Be Misguided
July 7, 2017 05:00 PM – The Distilled Spirits Council today issued the following statement in response to news reports regarding the European Union’s potential trade retaliation against some U.S. whiskey products in the context of actions the Trump Administration may be considering relative to aluminum and steel imports.
“U.S. and EU spirits exporters have enjoyed duty-free access to each other’s markets for more than two decades, which has greatly benefited both spirits producers and consumers and resulted in increased exports, jobs and consumer choice.
Members of the Distilled Spirits Council have made considerable investments in both the U.S. and the EU to create complementary product portfolios comprised of both domestic and imported brands. U.S. whiskeys are an important component of these investment strategies and brand portfolios.
Any efforts to impose retaliatory tariffs on U.S. spirits exports to the EU will harm consumers, producers and the U.S. and EU spirits sectors.”
Total U.S. spirits exports to the EU in 2016 were valued at $654 million; Bourbon whiskey accounted for 20 percent of that total.
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And here’s the statement from the Kentucky Distillers’ Association
KDA Statement on EU Article
July 7, 2017 – “Kentucky Bourbon is a thriving, $8.5 billion homegrown industry that employs nearly 17,500 people and is enjoyed in more than 125 countries. Global markets are increasingly important to our signature industry, and we have worked hard over the past decade to open doors, level the playing field and eliminate discriminatory tariffs and policies that would put Kentucky Bourbon at a competitive disadvantage. We will continue those efforts to promote, protect and elevate its success around the world.”
~ Eric Gregory, President, Kentucky Distillers’ Association
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United States Steel Imports Report
This will help to put the steel import issue into perspective. Yes, it’s a obviously a big deal but come one, you can’t drink steel.
According to the March 2017 Global Steel Trade Moniter, the U.S. is the world’s largest importer of steel. In 2016, the U.S. imported 30.1 million metric tons (mmt) of steel, a decline from 35.4 mmt in 2015 and the near-record high of 40.3 mmt in 2014. In 2015, U.S. imports represented about 19 percent of all steel imported globally, based on available data. The volume of U.S. steel imports in 2016 was more than 15 percent larger than that of the world’s second- and third largest importers, Germany and South Korea. In value terms, steel represented just 1 percent of the total goods imported into the United States in 2016.
The United States imports steel from over 110 countries and territories. The 8 countries labeled in the map below represent the top sources for U.S. imports of steel, with the U.S. receiving more than 1 million metric tons from each and together accounting for 75 percent of U.S. steel imports in 2016.