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Statement by Distilled Spirits Council President & CEO Chris Swonger on the UK-U.S. Announcement to Remove Retaliatory Tariffs on American Whiskeys as Part of the Steel-Aluminum Dispute Agreement

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#discus–“Distillers throughout the United States are cheering the end of this long tariff nightmare. We toast the Biden administration for its resolve in bringing a stop to these punitive tariffs on American Whiskeys and securing the return to duty-free trade in spirits across the Atlantic.

“With the removal of the UK’s debilitating retaliatory tariffs on American Whiskey exports, U.S. distillers are ready to fire up the stills and resume sharing the special taste, heritage and quality of America’s native spirit with our UK consumers.

“From day one, the Biden administration made it a priority to reset the relationship with the EU and UK, two of our most important allies and trading partners. The successful resolution of two separate and complicated trade disputes that saddled distilled spirits on both sides of the Atlantic with tariffs could not have been possible without the strong leadership of Secretary Raimondo, Ambassador Tai and their teams at the Departments of Commerce and Office of the United States Trade Representative.

“We also appreciate the longstanding support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Secretary Vilsack for highlighting the negative impact retaliatory tariffs have on value-added agriculture exports, including distilled spirits. American Whiskey producers have a close relationship with their farmer partners who are also hailing an end to these devastating tariffs.”


  • Since the imposition of the 25 percent retaliatory tariff on American Whiskeys, exports to the UK, our fourth-largest market, have declined by 42 percent, from $150 million to $88 million (2018-2021).
  • In October 2021, the U.S. and the EU announced an agreement to suspend for two-years the EU’s 25 percent retaliatory tariff on American Whiskeys in the steel-aluminum dispute.
  • In June 2021, the U.S. reached separate agreements with the EU and UK in the WTO Boeing-Airbus disputes to suspend tariffs for five years on U.S. rum, brandy and vodka, Single Malt Scotch, Single Malt Irish Whisky from Northern Ireland, liqueurs and cordials from the UK, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Spain, and certain Cognacs and other grape brandies from France and Germany.


DISCUS Public Affairs

Lisa Hawkins



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