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U.S. Threatens To Add Tariffs To French Sparkling Wines

December 3, 2019

The U.S. is proposing to hit more European wines with tariffs, this time targeting French sparkling wines over France’s digital service tax aimed at tech companies.

The U.S. says France’s 3% digital service tax unfairly burdens American companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple. In response, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has proposed tariffs of up to 100% on $2.4 billion worth of French products, including cheese, yogurt, makeup, handbags, and other items in addition to sparkling wine.

European winemakers and American importers are already reeling from the 25% tariffs on table wines from France, Spain, Germany, and the U.K. imposed by the U.S. on October 18. The new tariff proposal targeting Champagne and other French sparklers will only compound those woes. Champagne shipments to the U.S. soared in the first half of this year, rising by 16% to €238.1 million ($264m).—Daniel Marsteller

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