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EU to impose Bourbon tariffs in July

The EU will impose retaliatory tariffs on US imports, including American whiskey, following Donald Trump’s decision to put duties on European aluminium and steel.

American whiskey has been caught in the cross wires of a EU-US trade war

In March, president Trump said his government will impose a 25% import duty on steel and a 10% duty on aluminium. The president said such imports threaten national security, but the EU responded by claiming the US is instead seeking to impose protectionist trade measures.

Yesterday, the European Commission confirmed it would introduce tariffs on about €2.8bn (£2.5bn) worth of US goods ranging from Bourbon to motorbikes.

The list was drawn up by EU trade officials this year. The measures are expected to be enforced by July.

The response comes 24 hours after Mexico confirmed it had launched tariffs on US steel and was also targeting US goods such as Bourbon.

EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström said in a statement: “This is a measured and proportionate response to the unilateral and illegal decision taken by the United States to impose tariffs on European steel and aluminium exports. What’s more, the EU’s reaction is fully in line with international trade law. We regret that the United States left us with no other option than to safeguard EU interests.”

Ulrich Adam, director general of Spirits Europe, said: “The US and EU spirits sectors are closely intertwined. We appreciate the Commission’s efforts to normalise EU-US relations and to secure a positive outcome.

“However, we regret that this has not materialised for now. Today, we can only take note of the decision and hope there will be no further escalation of tensions.”

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