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News Alert: European Union To Remove Tariffs On American Whiskey

November 1, 2021

The European Union has agreed to remove its tariffs on American whiskey, which have been in effect since 2018, and have caused significant export declines for U.S. distillers in key markets. The tariffs are being removed as part of a larger deal in which the U.S. has agreed to ease its own tariffs on E.U. steel and aluminum. The agreement was announced at this weekend’s Group of 20 Summit in Rome.

The E.U. is the largest export market for American whiskies, and the category saw a severe decline in the region owing to the tariffs, down nearly 40% from 2018 to 2020, a roughly $260 million decrease to $440 million in exports. The 25% tariffs had been scheduled to increase to 50% as of December, absent an agreement on the steel and aluminum issue. DISCUS noted that work remains to remove similar tariffs on American whiskies in the U.K.

“After three very difficult years of sagging American Whiskey exports, the E.U. and U.S. are back to a zero-for-zero tariff agreement on distilled spirits, which has been instrumental to our export success and job creation on both sides of the Atlantic since 1997,” said Chris Swonger, president and CEO of the DISCUS. “Lifting this tariff burden on American whiskeys not only boosts U.S. distillers and farmers, it also supports the recovery of E.U. restaurants, bars and distilleries hit hard by the pandemic. We are energized and ready to ramp up our American whiskey promotions in the E.U. to re-introduce America’s native spirits to EU consumers.”—Daniel Marsteller

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