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Following Warner & Kaine Push, Administration Negotiates Pause on Retaliatory Tariffs on Whiskey and Spirits

The spirits industry supports 16,600 Virginia jobs and billions in economic activity

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) applauded the Biden administration for heeding their call to protect the millions of U.S. jobs that rely on American whiskey and spirits producers. Earlier this month, Warner and Kaine joined a bipartisan group of senators urging the administration to negotiate with the European Union (EU) to remove retaliatory tariffs that hurt these businesses in Virginia and across the country. Without urgent action from the Biden administration, the EU would have implemented a 50% tariff on American whiskey imports on January 1, 2024. Today, the EU announced they would pause these retaliatory tariffs for 15 months in response to U.S. pressure.

“The spirits industry plays a vital role in Virginia’s economy, and we’re glad to see the Biden administration acted quickly to protect the thousands of Virginia jobs that rely on it,” said the senators. “We’ll keep working to reach a permanent solution that will protect the industry from harmful retaliatory tariffs.”

Retaliatory tariffs by the EU have cost domestic sprits distillers and winemakers billions of dollars since 2018, and the U.S. needs a permanent solution to safeguard over 1.7 million production, distribution, and hospitality jobs that rely on the industry. The EU originally set the whiskey tariff at 25%, and following Warner and Kaine’s push, the Biden Administration negotiated an agreement to suspend the tariff until 2024. The senators’ bipartisan letter urged U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to negotiate a deal to permanently remove retaliatory tariffs on all American-made sprits and wines.