Whiskey tariff set to double in June; Kaine and Young urge removal of tariffs

U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Todd Young (R-IN) sent a letter to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo calling on the agencies to address the harmful retaliatory tariffs that inhibit trade of whiskey, other spirits, and wine between the United States and the European Union and United Kingdom.

The letter comes as the European Union tariff on American whiskey is scheduled to double to 50 percent in June.

Twenty five percent retaliatory tariffs on American whiskey were imposed by the E.U. and the U.K. in 2018 in response to the Trump Administration’s Section 232 tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.

In their letter, the Senators stressed the negative impact that an increase in these tariffs would have on local businesses, as many are still struggling to stay afloat due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“These tariffs have negatively impacted the U.S. beverage alcohol sector and placed American producers at a severe competitive disadvantage in what had been a growing export market for them,” the Senators wrote. 

“Securing an agreement to permanently lift these tariffs on wine and spirits will help restaurants, bars, and craft distilleries across the country as they recover from the pandemic,” they continued.

Along with Senators Kaine and Young, the letter was also signed by U.S. Senators Alex Padilla (D-CA), Rand Paul (R-KY), Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), John Cornyn (R-TX), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Mike Braun (R-IN).

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