American whiskey distillers are facing the continuation of a punishing 25% tariff on their products in most of Europe, even as American tariffs on Scotch whisky and French wine are being removed.
The tariffs on Scotch and wine, leveled by the Trump administration, were suspended this month by President Joe Biden. His administration is trying to resolve the underlying dispute, which is about government subsidies to airliner manufacturers.
But the EU tariff on bourbon and other American whiskies are part of another dispute, about American tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. That tiff seems unlikely to be resolved anytime soon.
As a result, not only do EU tariffs on whiskey and other products remain in place, but the whiskey tariff is scheduled to rise to 50% in June – something that American distillers say would remove Western Europe as a market entirely.
“Fifty percent will literally take us out of the European market,” one distiller told the Wall Street Journal.