Wine makers and merchants in America were almost wiped out of business a cebntruy ago because of new restrictions.
And according to the American wine industry, a similar threat is poised by the decision of the United States president to increase taxes on European wine imports to 100 per cent.
If the tariffs are actually imposed, they will all lose their business, wine sellers have warned. This measure threatened by Trump is a retaliatory action for European subsidies for Airbus. Wine sellers of the US want Trump to drop the idea completely.
There will be loss of jobs as well as price rise in the US because of the proposed rise in the tariffs over and above the previous increase, the industry warned.
“It is without hyperbole that I tell you that the proposed tariffs would be the greatest threat to the wine and spirits industry since Prohibition, in 1919,” Benjamin Aneff, managing partner of Tribeca Wine Merchants told the US media.
Every year, the wine imported from Europe by the US is about $5bn. However a 25 per cent import tariff imposed by the Trump administration since October has sent the industry reeling. The previous tariff was imposed in relation to the US wining an approval from the World Trade Organisation granting it the authority to impose tariffs on European products. That was in relation to the case of subsidies given to Airbus by European governments.
The impact of the first round of tariffs was somehow managed by most of the American wine sellers. However there will be wide spread disruption in the industry in the form of possible loss of thousands of jobs with a 100 per cent tariff, said wine sellers. In addition, they said, there can be retaliatory tariffs as well from the European Union.
While the price of most wines will double, there will be some wines that would become too costly to import into the US is the tariff is imposed, said the National Association of Wine Retailers.
In written comments to the US Trade Representative, thousands of people have opposed the move.
“These tariffs are intended to be punitive measures against European countries, but instead, they are having a calamitous impact on American small businesses, American workers, and American consumers,” wrote the heads of Field Blend Solutions, a New York-based importer.
The possible thinking of the Trump administration that there would not be huge political problems if it could target fine Burgundies and could easily shrug off opposition in Francophile circles was thinking that “misses the point”, said Robert Tobiassen, president of the National Association of Beverage Importers.
“It’s not just a question of simply raising prices. It’s a question of what is the impact on jobs, what is the impact on the US marketplace,” he said.
He added that the “asymmetric approach” has caused a lot of frustration among the wine business. “Why is wine having to pay for a dispute on civil aircraft?”
(Adapted from BBC.com)