Bourbon tariffs dropped as EU and United States settle trade war

Following a multi-year struggle, the tariffs on Kentucky bourbon have been lifted as a result of an agreement between the European Union and the United States.

The United States and European Union have been in a trade war since 2018, when the former imposed a 25% tariff, or tax on imports, on European steel and a 10% tariff on aluminum under then-President Donald Trump. The European Union retaliated with tariffs on American products, including a 25% tariff on American bourbon whiskey.

That tariff was set to double on December 1 had the aforementioned agreement not been reached. Instead, all retaliatory tariffs will be removed on Kentucky bourbon by January 1, 2022.

Following the agreement, Kentucky Distillers Association President Eric Gregory detailed the harm the tariffs inflicted in recent years and celebrated the agreement.

“These unfortunate tariffs have slashed exports of Kentucky Bourbon by 50% to the E.U. and the United Kingdom, costing distillers, industry partners and farm families hundreds of millions of dollars,” Gregory said. “Bourbon is one of Kentucky’s most historic and treasured industries, a $8.6 billion economic and tourism engine that generates more than 20,000 good-paying jobs each year with a $1 billion payroll and welcomes nearly 2 million people a year to the KDA’s world-famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail experiences. The KDA thanks the steadfast leadership of the Biden administration, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, Congressman John Yarmuth and officials in Europe for their tireless efforts to resolve this ongoing trade dispute and to restore fairness in overseas markets for Kentucky’s signature distilled spirits industry.”

“We stood up for Kentucky bourbon workers, producers and consumers to protect thousands of well-paying jobs in the commonwealth and the families and communities they support,” said Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear.

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Jacqueline Pitts
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