Distilled Spirits Council granted extra $400k to deal with impact of tariffs

The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) has received an additional US$400,000 in funding to deal with the impact of retaliatory trade tariffs, bringing the the total amount awarded to the organisation since January to $1,215,000.

The trade body has made an further application for funding to the USDA’s Agricultural Trade Program, a scheme designed to aid agricultural groups that are being affected by tariffs.

Commenting on the news, Distilled Spirits Council president and CEO Chris Swonger, said: “We appreciate USDA’s recognition that the negative impacts of the retaliatory tariffs on US spirits are accelerating and severely threatening what has been a great American trade success story,” adding that since the imposition of the EU’s 25% retaliatory tariffs on American whiskey over a year ago, exports to the EU have declined 19%.

“While this funding will help mitigate some of the negative impacts of the retaliatory tariffs,  we continue to urge US policy makers and our trade partners to bring an end to these burdensome tariffs.”

DISCUS said that it would use the money to put in place export promotions, including market research, media campaigns and in-market promotions in key areas.

In July last year, the EU Commission imposed a tariff on imports of Bourbon and American whiskey, in retaliation to president Donald Trump’s decision to impose a 25% tax on imports on steel.

In March 2018, president Trump imposed a 25% import duty on steel and a 10% duty on aluminium in Europe, Mexico and Canada.

In May 2019, DISCUS “welcomed” news that Canada and Mexico would repeal retaliatory tariffs on American Whiskey.

Back in February this year, DISCUS called on the US government to resolve the “harmful” export tariffs that have caused a “sharp downturn” in whiskey exports to its biggest export market.

According to statistics published by the organisation, the EU market, the largest export destination for US whiskey worth around $675m, witnessed a sharp downturn after the tariffs were introduced last year.

Exports to the EU fell by 8.7% to $312m from $363m between July and November 2018, compared to the same period in 2017.

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