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BNIA: US tariffs will ‘destroy’ Armagnac industry

The Bureau National Interprofessionnel de l’Armagnac (BNIA) has slammed the introduction of a 25% tariff on Armagnac in the US, arguing the move will ‘destroy’ the industry.

Armagnac producers will be hit with a 25% tariff for shipments to the US from 12 January 2021

The US will impose a 25% tariff on additional European goods, including Cognac and brandy from France and Germany, from 12 January.

The tariffs are being added as part of a long-running dispute between the EU and the US regarding plane manufacturers Airbus and Boeing.

The BNIA trade body has warned the tariffs will pose particular challenges for vintage Armagnacs.

Patrick Farbos, president of the BNIA, said: “Our Armagnac operators, flagships of the Armagnac appellation in France and around the world, are in danger. The American market is historically our first export market, along with China, with a great proportion of vintage Armagnacs sold on this market.

“The operations are intrinsically linked with the United States, in cordial trade relations forged over a long time. This announcement will destroy our industry.

“The conditions of application of this new sanction directly concern our valued Armagnacs on this market and will impact the premium Armagnac market, vintages in particular.

“It is a market that allows our Armagnac operators to hold out during this international crisis. I solemnly appeal to [French president] Emmanuel Macron. The situation is serious for the oldest eau-de-vie and numerous companies in the southwest, in the Landes, Gers and Lot-e-Garonne who market and promote it.

“It is urgent to act so as not to let this dispute harm our territories. I know that the president of the Republic is attached to our lands. He cannot leave us in this situation.”

In November 2020, the EU put a 25% retaliatory tariff on imports of US rum, brandy, vodka and vermouth as part of the ongoing disagreement.

A 25% tariff on single malt Scotch, single malt Irish whiskey and liqueurs from the EU has already been in place since October 2019. This has resulted in a 34% decline in Scotch whisky exports and a 28% decline in liqueur and cordial exports between October 2019 and August 2020, compared with the 12 months prior.

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