US tariffs on French wines are ‘sledgehammer’ to industry, exporters say

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How about some cheese to go with that whine?

The French wine exporters federation on Thursday complained that additional US tariffs on French wines and cognac will cost the industry more than $1.2 billion.

“This is a real sledgehammer blow in a fight which has nothing to do with us,” Cesar Giron, president of the Federation of Wine and Spirits Exporters told Reuters in an interview, referring to the US government’s Wednesday decision to raise tariffs on certain European Union products.

“The overall impact will be over one billion euros for the entire wine and spirits sector,” he added.

The US slapped the additional tariffs on the spirits in the latest salvo in a 16-year battle over aircraft subsidies between Washington and Brussels.

Last year, the Trump administration imposed tariffs, authorized by the World Trade Organization, on about $7.5 billion in imports from the EU and UK, including a 25 percent tax on French wine that the federation said cost it $737 million.

The new tariffs are sure to dismay US restauranteurs, who earlier this month urged President-elect Joe Biden to commit to lifting the tax when he takes office in January.

The Coalition to Stop Restaurant tariffs, a group representing restaurants across the country and which includes industry heavyweights Daniel Meyer and Thomas Keller, has said that scaling back duties would help restaurants that have been under pressure during the coronavirus pandemic.

With Post wires.

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