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Distilled Spirits Council calls for end to trade wars

Trade body the Distilled Spirits Council and 45 businesses have urged the US to negotiate with Mexico and Canada to end retaliatory tariffs on American whiskey.

The Distilled Spirits Council is calling for an end to retaliatory tariffs on American whiskey

The council and 45 businesses, which include agricultural groups, have sent a letter to commerce secretary Wilbur Ross and US trade representative Robert Lighthizer asking the US government to take “all necessary steps” to end the retaliatory tariffs so that zero-tariff North American trade can resume.

The Distilled Spirits Council also wants to see the tariffs lifted in order to secure Congressional approval of the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

Christine LoCascio, Distilled Spirits Council senior vice president for international affairs, said: “US spirits have been a target of the trade wars – with American whiskey the only US agricultural product subject to retaliatory tariffs by all of the retaliating trade partners.

“Open markets created by trade agreements have greatly benefited the US spirits industry, American farmers and our consumers.

“We urge continued dialogue with Mexico and Canada to secure the prompt removal of the retaliatory tariffs.”

US president Donald Trump locked the US in numerous trade wars last year as a result of implementing 25% and 10% import tariffs on steel and aluminium respectively, effective 1 June 2018.

In July, Canada hit back at the tariffs with its own duties on more than 250 US-made products – including a 10% tariff on American whiskey.

Meanwhile, Mexico has imposed a retaliatory tariff of 25% on US whiskeys. Total whiskey exports to Mexico were valued at US$13.4m in 2017.

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