U.S. to target more French, German wines, spirits with 25% tariffs

U.S. to target more French, German wines, spirits with 25% tariffs

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration said it will target more French and German wine and spirits with 25% tariffs starting Jan. 12, in the latest escalation in a tit-for-tat tariff fight related to a longstanding dispute over commercial-jetliner subsidies.

Among the new levies, the U.S. will for the first time apply the 25% levies on wines from France and Germany that exceed 14% alcohol, which had previously been exempt, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

The U.S. had seen a surge in these higher-alcohol wines, typically from Spain and France, after wines with 14% alcohol or less were hit with tariffs last year.

“With particularly what’s happening in light of the pandemic, with restaurants closures and distillery closures, this just is not the right time to be hitting an industry that’s already dealing with the economic impact,” Christine LoCascio, chief of public policy for the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S., said Thursday.

Washington imposed 25% tariffs on wine from France, Spain, Germany and the U.K. in October 2019 in retaliation for subsidies they made to the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus SE
arguing they hurt Boeing Co.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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