As a response to US President Donald Trump’s trade policies, American distilleries have been targeted in retaliation.
There are fears in the American whiskey and bourbon industries that further tariffs from the US side may spark new European tariffs on products sold in the continent.
The Distilled Spirits Council, an American group representing the whiskey and bourbon distillery industry, reports that whiskey exporters are struggling. Whiskey exports to Europe plummeted by 21% from June of 2018 to June of 2019, according to the council. In raw numbers, US rye and bourbon exports were worth $757 million just 12 months before the tariffs took effect. Between July 2018 and June 2019, this figure was only $597 million. Exports are also a major component of the US whiskey industry, generating over $3.6 billion in revenue for 2018.
According to the Distilled Spirits Council, 63% of US whiskey exports have faced retaliatory action at the country of their destination. These countries include Mexico, Canada, China, Turkey, and the broader European Union. At the moment the single biggest drawback for the US whiskey industry is the 25% tariff placed on American whiskey by the EU. At the moment, the US Trade Representative’s office is preparing to hit EU spirits and wine exports with a new tariff of up to 100%. This tariff would affect $1.8 billion worth of imports to the US and would certainly spark further retaliation. These new tariffs could come following the 15-year long trade dispute between the EU and US over illegal EU aid granted to Airbus. According to the Distilled Spirits Council, the American spirits industry may end up losing 11,200 to 78,600 jobs as a result of trade action.