Prevent yet more US tariffs on European imports

13 January 2020  See Alder's report on the hearing held on 7 and 8 January in Washington DC.

7 January 2020 New York importer Harmon Skurnik reports the bad news that 'unfortunately there is NO hearing for 13 Jan. Why? Because there already was a hearing prior to when the 25% October tariff was implemented (same Airbus issue), even though at that time there was no awareness in the industry about it! So today is our one shot.

6 January 2020 The USTR has confirmed that there will be a court reporter present and a full transcript from the hearings, held on 7 January (French sparkling wines) and 13 January (all EU wines), including all testimony and questions from the panel, will be posted soon after (day of or next day) here.

3 January 2020 Please keep the wine business airborne...

As a reaction to a ruling on the Airbus/Boeing trade dispute, in October the US government slapped a 25% tariff on various European imports, including many wines and spirits.

It is now threatening to increase the tariff to up to 100% on an even wider range of products from Europe, including far more wines, spirits and champagne. You have until Tuesday 7 January to tell the US government what you think of this – to me nonsensical – scheme. Act now. It could hardly be simpler to submit a comment, as brief or long as you like, here. You don’t even have to give your contact details.

This is not just a domestic American issue. Yes, Americans may need solace in a bottle if the Iranians carry out their threat of all-out war against the US, and it would be unfortunate to say the least if they had to pay so much more than they are used to.

But if this threat were to be implemented, it would affect the whole of the world of wine. It would largely kill the US market for European wines. As Richard will outline on Wednesday, it is not as though European wine exporters can simply focus on Asian markets instead. Many of the most interesting of them, already operating on a shoestring, will go to the wall. This will result in much less choice for wine drinkers. Imagine a wine landscape even more dominated by only the most boring big companies.

And it’s not as though it will automatically benefit American wine producers. Within the US, the smaller distributors will probably suffer first, making life even more difficult for American wineries, many of whom are already finding it perilously difficult to forge a route to consumers within the notorious three-tier distribution system there. The Fine Wine Alliance in the US estimates that if the 100% tariff is implemented, likely losses would be more than $2 billion in revenue and 10,000 jobs – in America. Seems a strange way to try to make Europe suffer: mom and pop wine farms being sacrificed because of goings-on between governments and the world’s biggest aircraft manufacturers.

Express your feelings here.

An Airbus 380 plane for Emirates