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Wine Spectator: White House Spares European Wines from 100% Tariffs for Now

February 18, 2020

The Trump administration sent wine consumers a decidedly mixed Valentine late Friday. The U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer issued a decision in his review of the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and the European Union over subsidies to plane manufacturer Airbus.

The good news? The administration has decided not to raise tariffs on European wines for now, opting instead to raise tariffs on European airplane parts from 10% to 15%.

The bad news? The 25% tariffs on French, Spanish, and German still wines under 14% alcohol remain in place, promising continued pain for winemakers in those countries and consumers, retailers, restaurateurs and importers in the United States.

What’s next? The USTR must review the tariffs again by August. U.S. and E.U. officials continue to negotiate, but there has been little sign of progress. That means that for the foreseeable future, the 25% tariffs are here to stay.

Members of the wine industry are not relaxing either. “Continuing to require importers to pay a 25% tax to the U.S. government on the majority of wines from the E.U. can hardly be called a victory,” said Daniel Posner, a New York retailer and member of the U.S. Wine Trade Alliance. “The fact of the matter is that tariffs on wine do far more damage to American businesses than they do their targets in the E.U.” Wine Spectator has the full story.—Mitch Frank

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