Trump Targets European Wine In Trade War

By Neat Pour Staff |

The Trump administration is not shy about trade disputes. So, it’s no surprise that the administration just rolled out a new list of proposed retaliatory duties on European Union goods — this time the measures are in reaction to controversial subsidies to aerospace manufacturer Airbus. Beverage lovers, once again, appear to squarely in the line of fire of this trade war.

The proposed duties (a duty is like a tariff, but more of an indirect tax passed onto the consumer) outlined in the USTR’s Annex started off logically enough. In response to Airbus’ shady ways, the Americans rattled off a list of aerospace products that will be taxed.

Then, the list goes after the palate. All sorts of cheeses including Stilton, Colby, and Gouda are on the roster. So, are dozens of seafood items, especially shellfish. Yogurt? Check.

However beverages are particularly targeted. Waters (including ice) and most fruit juice lead off the section. All sparkling wines made from grapes are included as are most other wines, but particularly those with an ABV in excess of 14%. For good measure, all liqueurs and brandies fall under the proposed duties.

Scroll down to the end of the article for the full list.

To understand the dispute, one must look back to 2004. Back then, the US. filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization alleging that EU member states, France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom, provided launch subsidies to Airbus allowing the company to gain an unfair edge over Boeing. After seven years of investigation and bureaucracy, the WTO sided with the US., ruling that EU provided Airbus $18 billion in subsidized financing from 1968 to 2006.

Despite the ruling, the EU took only token actions to correct the matter. By 2012, the US was back at the WTO requesting a compliance panel to force action from the Europeans. After another six years of legal wrangling, the WTO ruled for the US in March 2018. 

The US subsequently requested authorization to impose some $11.2 billion per year in countermeasures. The EU quickly challenged this figure kicking the decision on the exact sum back to WTO moderation. 

The Trump administration decided that instead of waiting for a decision to come back and then beginning the process of defining the countermeasures, they’d get ahead of the game. So, the USTR unveiled a list of proposed duties in advance of the actual OK.

“This case has been in litigation for 14 years, and the time has come for action. The Administration is preparing to respond immediately when the WTO issues its finding on the value of U.S. countermeasures,” said USTR Robert Lighthizer.  “Our ultimate goal is to reach an agreement with the EU to end all WTO-inconsistent subsidies to large civil aircraft.  When the EU ends these harmful subsidies, the additional U.S. duties imposed in response can be lifted.”

In short, the WTO has not officially authorized these duties yet. Still, the public input process is now officially underway. 

  • Pear juice, concentrated or not concentrated
  • Prune juice, concentrated or not concentrated
  • Juice of any single vegetable, other than tomato, concentrated or not concentrated
  • Waters (incl. ice, snow and steam), ot/than mineral waters or aerated waters, not cont. added sugar or other sweetening matter nor flavored Nonalcoholic beer
  • Chocolate milk drink
  • Juice of any single fruit or vegetable (except orange juice) fortified with vitamins or minerals, in nonconcentrated form
  • Fruit or vegetable juices, fortified with vitamins or minerals, mixtures of juices in non-concentrated form
  • Sparkling wine, made from grapes
  • Effervescent grape wine, in containers holding 2 liters or less
  • Tokay wine (not carbonated) not over 14% alcohol, in containers not over 2 liters
  • Wine other than Tokay (not carbonated), not over 14% alcohol, in containers not over 2 liters
  • “Marsala” wine, over 14% vol. alcohol, in containers holding 2 liters or less
  • Grape wine, other than “Marsala”, not sparkling or effervescent, over 14% vol. alcohol, in containers holding 2 liters or less
  • Wine of fresh grapes, other than sparkling wine, of an alcoholic strength by volume <=14% in containers holding over 2 liters but not over 4 liters
  • Wine of fresh grapes, other than sparkling wine, of an alcoholic
  • strength by volume >14% in containers holding over 2 liters but not over 4 liters
  • Wine of fresh grapes, other than sparkling wine, of an alcoholic strength by volume <=14% in containers holding over 4 liters but not over 10 liters
  • Wine of fresh grapes, other than sparkling wine, of an alcoholic strength by volume >14% in containers holding over 4 liters but not over 10 liters
  • Wine of fresh grapes, other than sparkling wine, of an alcoholic strength by volume <=14% in containers holding >10 liters
  • Wine of fresh grapes, other than sparkling wine, of an alcoholic strength by volume >14% in containers holding >10 liters
  • Grape must, nesoi, in fermentation or with fermentation arrested otherwise than by addition of alcohol
  • Grape brandy, excluding pisco and singani, in containers not over 4 liters, not over $2.38/liter
  • Grape brandy, excluding pisco and singani, in containers not over 4 liters, valued over $2.38 to $3.43/liter
  • Grape brandy, excluding pisco and singani, in containers not over 4 liters, valued over $3.43/liter
  • Grape brandy, excluding pisco and singani, in containers over 4 liters, not over $2.38/liter
  • Grape brandy, excluding pisco and singani, in containers over 4 liters, over $2.38/liter
  • Liqueurs and cordials

More of Neat Pour’s coverage of the trade wars and tariffs can be found here.

 

Photo by Pete G. [CC2.0]

Read Next

Blackberry, Plum, & Basil Smash

Relax, kick back, and raise a (mason jar) glass to summer with this delicious rum smash using fresh blackberries, plums and basil. The…