Trade Group Praises Deal Lifting US-EU Liquor Tariffs

The Distilled Spirits Council said the agreement announced Tuesday will end both sides' 25% tariffs on various product categories.

President Joe Biden, center, walks with European Council President Charles Michel, right, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen during the United States-European Union Summit at the European Council in Brussels, Tuesday, June 15, 2021.
President Joe Biden, center, walks with European Council President Charles Michel, right, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen during the United States-European Union Summit at the European Council in Brussels, Tuesday, June 15, 2021.
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

BRUSSELS — The trade association for producers and marketers of distilled spirits sold in the United States said the five-year suspension of tariffs outlined in deal between the U.S. and the European Union to end their 17-year dispute over aircraft subsidies will be critical to helping the industry recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

The dispute over subsidies for Boeing and Airbus saw tit-for-tat duties slapped on a range of companies that have nothing to do with aircraft production. The Distilled Spirits Council said the agreement announced Tuesday will end the EU's 25% tariff on U.S. rum, brandy and vodka, as well as the 25% U.S. tariff on liqueurs and cordials from Germany, Ireland, Italy and Spain, and on certain cognacs and other grape brandies from France and Germany.

The council said that removing the tariffs will benefit restaurants, bars and small craft distilleries that had to close during the pandemic. But it noted that the EU and the United Kingdom still have a 25% tariff on American whiskey as part of a steel and aluminum trade dispute stemming from the Trump administration.

“Until steps are taken to permanently remove these tariffs on American whiskeys, the United States’ largest spirits export category will remain at a serious competitive disadvantage in our two most important export markets,” the trade group said.

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