American whiskey makers are raising a glass today with the news from U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo that the retaliatory tariffs on American whiskey imposed in 2018 as part of the steel-aluminum dispute are coming to an end.
After a four-year dry spell, it’s time to raise a toast. United States and United Kingdom trade negotiators have reached a deal to drop retaliatory tariffs on American Whiskey.
American Whiskey Exports Dropped 42% Because of Retaliatory Tariffs
Data from Distilled Spirits Council of the United States – DISCUS shows that since the imposition of the 25 percent retaliatory tariff on American Whiskeys, exports to the UK, the industry’s fourth-largest market, have declined by 42 percent, from $150 million to $88 million (2018-2021).
“Distillers throughout the United States are cheering the end of this long tariff nightmare,” said Distilled Spirits Council President & CEO Chris Swonger. “We toast the Biden administration for its resolve in bringing a stop to these punitive tariffs on American Whiskeys and securing the return to duty-free trade in spirits across the Atlantic.
“With the removal of the UK’s debilitating retaliatory tariffs on American Whiskey exports, U.S. distillers are ready to fire up the stills and resume sharing the special taste, heritage and quality of America’s native spirit with our UK consumers.”
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In a statement from the Kentucky Distillers’ Association – KDA the states 50 member distilleries thanked the Biden Administration’s steadfast leadership including direct negotiations by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. The KDA also recognizes and appreciates the critical roles of U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, Congressman John Yarmuth and the rest of the Kentucky delegation for working to resolve this years-long trade dispute and to restore fairness in the U.K.’s market for Kentucky’s signature distilled spirits industry.
“With the suspension of these tariffs, we look forward to rekindling bourbon enthusiasm in the U.K. and helping our legendary distillers further share the finest Bourbon for all the world to enjoy,” said Kentucky Distillers’ Association President Eric Gregory.
In a statement from Brown-Forman’s President and CEO Lawson Whiting said, “Brown-Forman commends the Biden Administration for today’s tariff agreement with the United Kingdom. As a result of the agreement, American whiskey will again enjoy tariff-free trade between the U.S. and the U.K. as of June 1, 2022.”
Today’s announcement follows the removal of the EU’s tariff on American whiskey on January 1, 2022.
In October 2021, the U.S. and the EU announced an agreement to suspend for two-years the EU’s 25 percent retaliatory tariff on American Whiskeys in the steel-aluminum dispute.
In June 2021, the U.S. reached separate agreements with the EU and UK in the WTO Boeing-Airbus disputes to suspend tariffs for five years on U.S. rum, brandy and vodka, Single Malt Scotch, Single Malt Irish Whisky from Northern Ireland, liqueurs and cordials from the UK, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Spain, and certain Cognacs and other grape brandies from France and Germany.