Scotch Whisky Could Be Next Target of Tariffs

July 2, 2019, 3:53 PM UTC

A wee dram could cost a sizable price if the U.S. follows through on its threat to impose $4 billion in tariffs on European Union goods.

Everything from Scotch and Irish whisky to Gouda cheese could be in the crosshairs of trade representatives, who announced the tariffs late Monday, but did not give a start date for them.

The tariffs are on top of the $21 billion announced in April. Officials say they’re in response to aircraft subsidies. (In 2004, EU authorities claimed Boeing had received $19 billion in unfair subsidies. Later that year, the U.S. filed a similar suit over Airbus.)

All totaled, 89 product are covered under the additional tariffs.

U.S. trade groups objected to the new tariffs, saying they would likely result in retaliatory actions by European governments, which could hurt jobs in America.

“These tariffs, if imposed, will have numerous unintended negative consequences on US jobs, US consumers and on US companies that export to the European Union,” the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States said in a statement. “US companies — from farmers, to suppliers to retailers — are already being negatively impacted by the imposition of retaliatory tariffs by key trading partners on certain US distilled spirits resulting from other trade disputes, and these additional tariffs will only inflict further harm.”

Scotch whisky makes up 12% of the total whiskey market in the United States. Domestic whiskeys have a 48% share.

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