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Wine Spectator: Tariffs On European Wines Never Went Away

June 25, 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic may have impacted large portions of American life in recent months, but it didn’t pause the tariffs the Trump administration imposed on many European wines last year. Now those tariffs are up for review again. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) begins accepting public comments on the tariffs on June 26, giving members of the wine trade and consumers a chance to speak up.

The odds of the tariffs being lifted do not look good, and it’s possible the White House could raise them. Negotiations with the European Union over subsidies to Airbus, the cause of the tariff fight, have broken down. What’s more, the USTR has begun a separate investigation into a dispute with Italy, Spain, and other nations that could potentially lead to additional tariffs.

Wine importers, retailers and sommeliers loudly spoke out against the tariffs. “The retaliatory tariffs on wine do significantly more damage to U.S. businesses than to E.U. businesses,” said Ben Aneff, managing partner of Tribeca Wine Merchants and current president of the U.S. Wine Trade Alliance (USWTA). Many European vintners can find other markets for their wines. American companies that sell wine don’t have that luxury. “This makes the tariffs on wine incredibly ineffective.” Wine Spectator has a full report.—Mitch Frank

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