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American Distilled Spirits Alliance urges tariff removal

Trade group the American Distilled Spirits Alliance is calling on new US president Joe Biden to suspend tariffs on spirits within the first 100 days of taking office.

US spirits
The American Distilled Spirits Alliance said the new US administration must reverse the tariffs on spirits

Democrat Biden was sworn in as the new US president yesterday (20 January), taking over from Republican Donald Trump.

The American Distilled Spirits Alliance (ADSA) said there was an ‘extensive’ amount of tariffs on spirits that would only be remedied if president Biden took action to reverse tariffs.

Certain Cognac and other grape brandies from France and Germany are now subject to a 25% tariff in the US. The latest move is part of an ongoing dispute between the US and the EU regarding plane manufacturers Airbus and Boeing.

The US, EU and the UK have been embroiled in numerous trade spats since 2018. A 25% tariff on single malt Scotch, single malt Irish whiskey and liqueurs from the EU and the UK has been in place since October 2019.

The EU retaliated in November 2020 with a 25% tariff on imports of US rum, brandy, vodka and vermouth. Last month, the UK government said it would suspend the tariffs once the UK’s transition period, following its departure from the EU, had ended (31 December).

ADSA president Matt Dogali said: “Long before today, president Biden signalled his interest in rebuilding America’s fractured relationships with longstanding allies – a situation that resulted in large part from tariff tit-for-tats initiated by the Trump administration.

“It is clear that the [new president] wants to return the US to a state of greater normalcy, in general and an obvious move to accomplish both goals will be ending both US tariffs impacting European wine and spirits and pressuring the EU to end the tariff on exported American whiskey in the new president’s first 100 days in office.

“It is clear that in rejecting president Trump’s re-election effort, American voters were calling for an end to the heightened protectionism and an ever-escalating trade war with our allies.”

Dogali added that the new US administration must end the “disastrous trade war” and rebuild relationships quickly with EU nations.

He continued: “President Biden knows full well that Cognac has nothing to do with airplane subsidies. In order to fulfil the president’s campaign pledges, the new administration should move swiftly to rebuild our relationships with Ireland, France, Germany and others by drawing a line under this disastrous trade war that has disrupted longstanding relationships on which the US will need to rely in order to address the greater challenge of China.”

Earlier this week, the Scotch Whisky Association expressed its disappointment over the UK and US’ failure to reach a ‘mini-deal’ that could have removed tariffs on single malts.

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