UK, US Announce Removal Of Retaliatory Tariffs On American Whiskeys

, | March 24, 2022

During the previous presidential administration, tariffs on UK and US imports became retaliatory in nature, and the goods taxed spilled over into the whiskey realm.

And since the imposition of the 25 percent retaliatory tariff on American whiskeys, US exports to the UK declined by 42 percent, from $150 million to $88 million (2018-2021).

In October of 2021, the U.S. and the EU announced an agreement to suspend for two-years the EU’s 25 percent retaliatory tariff on American whiskeys, which actually came out of a steel-aluminum dispute.

I.W. Harper Straight Bourbon Whiskey (image via Melissa Jones)

I.W. Harper Straight Bourbon Whiskey (image via Melissa Jones)

It was last summer when the U.S. reached separate agreements with the EU and UK in the Boeing-Airbus disputes to suspend tariffs for five years on U.S. rum, brandy and vodka, single malt Scotch, single malt Irish whisky from Northern Ireland, liqueurs and cordials from the UK, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Spain, and certain Cognacs and other grape brandies from France and Germany.

Chris Swonger, president of the Distilled Spirits Council, commented on the removal of the retaliatory tariffs on American whiskeys as part of the steel-aluminum dispute agreement

He said that distillers throughout the United States are cheering the end of the tariffs, and the Distilled Spirits Council “toasts the Biden administration for its resolve in bringing a stop to these punitive tariffs on American whiskeys and securing the return to duty-free trade in spirits across the Atlantic.”

With the removal of the UK’s retaliatory tariffs on American whiskey exports, Swonger said US distillers are ready to fire up the stills and resume sharing the taste and heritage of America’s bourbon and whiskey with UK consumers.

“From day one, the Biden administration made it a priority to reset the relationship with the EU and UK, two of our most important allies and trading partners. The successful resolution of two separate and complicated trade disputes that saddled distilled spirits on both sides of the Atlantic with tariffs could not have been possible without the strong leadership of Secretary Raimondo, Ambassador Tai and their teams at the Departments of Commerce and Office of the United States Trade Representative,” he continued in a prepared statement.

“We also appreciate the longstanding support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Secretary Vilsack for highlighting the negative impact retaliatory tariffs have on value-added agriculture exports, including distilled spirits. American whiskey producers have a close relationship with their farmer partners, who are also hailing an end to these devastating tariffs.”


Gary Carter

Gary Carter has been at the helm of metro newspapers, magazines, and television news programs as well as a radio host and marketing manager. He is a writer/editor/photographer/designer by trade, with more than 30 years experience in the publishing and marketing field. Gary enjoys working to build something great, whether...