There has been a lot of recent activity with current trade investigations by the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) in the past few weeks and we wanted to clarify a few points on how they relate to the importation of wines and spirits in particular.
If you read any recent news articles about the suspension of planned tariffs, check closely as this development relates only a separate French Digital Service Tax trade dispute. These tariffs were to apply to certain French products, including cosmetics and handbags in January. French champagne was previously dropped from the final product list and is not impacted by this.
There are several separate digital service tax 301 trade investigations for multiple origins that are we are still watching, including cases involving Austria, Brazil, the Czech Republic, the European Union, Indonesia, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
For the digital tax trade cases involving Italy, India and Brazil, the USTR issued an announcement that they had reached a determination that those policies discriminate against US companies. The office further stated that while they are not taking action at this time they are exploring all available options.
The civil aircraft trade dispute is currently having the most impact on the wine and spirits trade. Effective today January 12, 2021 additional wine and spirits products from France and Germany will be tariffed at 25%. NASA has joined with the US Distilled Spirits Council, the Wine Institute, WSWA and several other industry trade organizations to urge the US, EU and UK to return to the negotiation table and eliminate tariffs on wine and spirits products. Read the joint industry statement here.