Whisk(e)y summit to address ‘long-term damage’ of trade wars

20th July, 2018 by Melita Kiely

Eight leading whisk(e)y associations will meet in Kentucky next week for a “historic” summit to discuss ongoing trade wars with the US, warning the “potential for long-term damage is real”.

whiskey whisky

Eight whisk(e)y associations will gather for the W8 – Spirit of Collaboration Summit next week

The W8 – Spirit of Collaboration Summit will be hosted by The Kentucky Distillers’ Association (KDA), a non-profit trade group established in 1880 to act as the Commonwealth’s voice for Bourbon and distilled spirits issues. It will take place on 25 and 26 July in Louisville.

The other associations joining the KDA are: Distilled Spirits Council, Irish Whiskey & Spirits Associations, Japan Spirits & Liqueurs Producers Makers Association, Scotch Whisky Association, Spirits Canada, SpiritsEurope and The President’s Forum.

Eric Gregory, KDA president, said: “Now more than ever our groups need to be communicating directly and, hopefully, speaking with a unified voice.

“The global whiskey industry has been enjoying an unprecedented level of success to the benefit of our legendary producers, consumers, countries and local communities.

“It’s critical that we maintain this momentum and ensure that world leaders understand the deep economic impact of whiskey and how it will be affected if this unfortunate trade war escalates or continues to extend.

“The potential for long-term damage is real.”

The summit comes at a time when the US is embroiled in numerous trade wars around the globe, including Canada, the EU and China.

The trade wars were sparked by US president Donald Trump’s introduction of a 25% import duty on steel and 10% on aluminium.

In response to the tariffs, the EU introduced retaliatory tariffs on €2.8 billion worth of US goods, including American whiskey in June.

This has caused Brown-Forman to raise the prices of its American whiskey and Bourbon brands – including Jack Daniel’s, Woodford Reserve and Old Forester – in markets where it owns distribution over the coming months.

Canada has also implemented a 10% tax hike on American whiskey imports as a result of the steel and aluminium tariffs.

Earlier this year, the US introduced tariffs on US$50bn worth of Chinese products. Additional tariffs were then brought in on an extra US$34bn worth of Chinese goods this month.

China responded with its own set of tariffs, including a 25% duty on American whiskey. As the world’s two largest economies, the feud between the US and China has been described as “the largest trade war in economic history”.

This week, the US filed five disputes with the World Trade Organization (WTO) in response to “unjustified” and “illegal” retaliatory tariffs imposed by China, the EU, Canada, Mexico and Turkey.

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