EU Keeps in Place Retaliatory Tariffs on American Whiskey

A summit between President Joe Biden and European Union President von der Leyen adjourned without Biden being able to win the removal or suspension of the EU’s retaliatory tariffs on American Whiskey, which are scheduled to be reimposed and doubled to 50% on Jan. 1

"Without this agreement, American Whiskey distillers are facing the serious threat of the reimposition and doubling of the EU tariff to 50% beginning on Jan. 1," DISCUS President/CEP Chris Swoner said.

American Whiskey got a real lift when the EU suspended its 25% retaliatory tariff on American Whiskeys in January 2022. Since then, American Whiskey exports to the EU have bounced back and surpassed pre-tariff levels.  "The U.S. distilled spirits industry has worked hard to regain its footing in the EU market and a return of the tariffs would bring this positive momentum to a screeching halt," Swonger said, adding:

"We urge the Biden Administration to continue to prioritize the permanent removal of these debilitating tariffs.  Until the threat of tariffs returning is fully removed, the uncertainty will continue to restrict our growth in our most important international market."

The EU's retaliatory tariffs were imposed in response the U.S. Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum. Following the imposition, American Whiskey exports to the EU, our largest American Whiskey export market, plunged 20%, from $552 million to $440 million (2018-2021).

The 25% retaliatory tariffs were suspended in October 2022 for two years. As a result of the suspension, American Whiskey exports to the EU increased by 29% in 2022 compared to 2021, reaching $566 million in 2022. This accounted for 44% of all American Whiskey exports, surpassing the pre-tariff level of $518 million in 2017. Through July 2023, American Whiskey exports to the EU are up nearly 91% as compared to the same period in 2022 (January-August).