President Trump’s belief that “trade wars are good” could shake up a whiskey market that is already far too diluted. European officials are publicly threatening to impose heavy taxes on bourbon in retaliation for POTUS’ recent announcement of American tariffs on aluminum and steel.
“We will put tariffs on Harley-Davidson, on bourbon and on blue jeans — Levis,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker declared during an interview German television. On Wednesday (3.07), European Union (EU) trade officials will convene to consider making the move official.
Reuters reported that the EU is “considering applying 25 percent tariffs on $3.5 billion of goods – a third steel, a third industrial goods and a third agricultural – to “rebalance” bilateral trade.”
Annually, about one billion dollars worth of bourbon is old abroad. In the grand scheme of trade wars, that is actually not a particularly large number. However, remember that 95% of bourbon is produced in Kentucky— the home state of Mitch Mcconnell, the Senate Majority Leader. (Also targeted were motorcycles from Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin and oranges from Florida, home of Trump’s Mar-A-Lagao estate.)
Last Thursday (3.02), President Trump imposed a 10% tariff on aluminum imports and a 25% tariff on steel imports. The presidential decision was the latest step in a “Section 232” process ordered by POTUS. The rule allowed Trump to order the Commerce Department to first investigate the effects of aluminum imports on national security, present options for action, and then finally order a response.
Trump’s decision drew decision also drew bipartisan critique domestically “I would just urge us to go very, very cautiously here,” said Senator Pa Toomey during a White House session not he matter. “Invoking national security, when I think it’s really hard to make that case, invites retaliation that would be problematic for us.”
Likewise, the beer and soft drink industries slammed the aluminum tariff. “According to third-party analyses, this 10% tariff will create a new $347.7 million tax on America’s beverage industry, including brewers and beer importers, and result in the loss of 20,291 American jobs,” Jim McGreevy, Beer Institute President and CEO responded in a statement “We appreciate the many members of Congress—both Republicans and Democrats—as well members of the cabinet who spoke out against imposing this tariff, many of whom specifically cited their concerns for how this tariff would negatively impact America’s beer industry.”