Calls on U.S. and European Union to Resolve Dispute and End Economic Harm to Sector
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Wine Institute submitted formal comments to the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) today urging an end to all retaliatory tariffs on wine. The comments were submitted as a part of USTR’s review of enforcement actions taken in response to a World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute over civil aircraft subsidies. USTR placed a 25% tariff on bottled wine imports from France, Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom in October and is currently considering increasing these tariffs further. The European Union (EU) has stated that it intends to retaliate against U.S. wine when authorized to do so by the WTO.
“We fully support USTR’s efforts to enforce trade rules and ensure a level playing field for all industries,” said Bobby Koch, President and CEO of Wine Institute. “But this dispute has absolutely nothing to do with wine and these tariffs are hurting the wine sector, including distributors, retailers and other industry partners, when we are all struggling to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.”
The United States is a member of the World Wine Trade Group (WWTG) and Wine Institute has long supported the WWTG position that wine should not be used as a retaliatory target in unrelated trade disputes. “We hope USTR will move away from targeting wine and make every effort to reach a negotiated outcome that ends this dispute once and for all. If this doesn’t happen, our wineries will clearly suffer further harm when this dispute escalates,” said Koch.
The EU is the largest export market for U.S. wines, with exports totaling $427 million in 2019. A copy of Wine Institute’s comments can be found here. See also a statement of principle on tariffs and trade from Wine Institute and Comité Européean des Entreprises Vins.
Wine Institute is the public policy advocacy group of more than 1,000 California wineries and affiliated businesses. California is the fourth largest wine producer worldwide and accounts for 95 percent of U.S. wine exports.