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U.S. Spirits Exports Rebound In 2021, As Discussions On U.K. Tariffs Continue

March 4, 2022

U.S. spirits exports rebounded last year, reaching $1.6 billion, a 14% gain over 2020, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. (DISCUS). The growth—due to easing pandemic restrictions and growing interest in higher-end American spirits—still puts U.S. exports below their 2018 peak, when a series of tariffs were enacted that hampered American spirits abroad.

While E.U. tariffs on U.S. spirits were suspended for two years as of January 2022, the U.K., one of the U.S.’s major export markets, has not yet removed its 25% levy. Between 2018 and 2021, American whiskey exports declined by 42% in the U.K. to $88 million for 2021, and 20% in the E.U. to $440 million. In January, the U.S. and U.K. opened discussions on resolving the trade issues on steel and aluminum underlying the tariffs.

“We applaud the Biden Administration for securing a suspension of the E.U.’s retaliatory tariffs on American spirits, including American whiskeys. With approximately 37% of total U.S. spirits exports going to the E.U., these retaliatory tariffs have severely impacted American spirits exports,” said Rob Maron, DISCUS vice president of international trade. “The U.K.’s continued imposition of a 25% retaliatory tariff on American whiskeys will only continue to curtail growth.”—Shane English

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