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Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Booze Tariffs Are Going To Affect YOU


I'm about to start tasting notes again, finally. But this comes first, because it's important and there isn't a lot of time left. For what? For you to help stop the crazy booze tariffs that are looming.

There's so little time left, less than a week, that I'm going to tell you what to do first, and then you can read the explanation below. But trust me: DO THIS NOW. Send a (pre-written) email to the US Trade Representative here, telling them to knock off this unfair, job-killing action (this is easy, and all you need to do is add your name and address to it, like I did). Then go here and drop a comment directly in the Trade Representative's face, official-style. Click on the "Comment now!" button in the upper right corner, and leave your comment in the next screen that pops up. It can be as simple as "I oppose the imposition of tariffs on European wine and spirits in this action. Such tariffs will directly hurt US companies, and US jobs." (That's what I submitted.) Or you can get more ideas here.

Okay. Did you do that? NO? The deadline for comments is January 13! Let's go, step it up! Do it, now, and then come back here and read the explanation below.

Here's what's going on. 

Tariffs of 25% on single malt Scotch and Irish whiskies are already in place (and if you haven't felt them, well, thank your friendly importers), similar taxes (yeah, tariffs are taxes. Anyone who tells you differently is lying or stupid) are already in place on European wine.

But that's not all. The EU has retaliated against US-imposed tariffs (that's why they call it a trade war) on European steel and aluminum by throwing a 25% tariff on American whiskey (among other things). And the US government has let it be known that they are contemplating significant increases on booze tariffs: 100% on champagne, unspecified increases on whiskies.

I'll be honest. I stood aside on this because these tariffs were sanctioned by the World Trade Organization. What?  The WTO saying, "Sure, go ahead, lay that tariff down, momma" ?? Well, it's because of this:
What's that wind under our wings? EUROSUBSIDY, mon ami!
After several years, the WTO has finally decided that Airbus was being unfairly aided by subsidies from European governments. (Indications are that they will rule that Boeing was also being subsidized, but that hasn't come out yet.) The remedy was an invitation to the US government to impose billions in tariffs on European goods.

So I stayed out of this, because say what you will about Trump's other tariffs, this one was actually sanctioned, allowed, righteous, and deserved. But someone from the Distilled Spirits Council of the US called me this morning, and asked me why the hell I wasn't on board.

Well, Airbus, I said. This is justified.

Really, she said? Subsidies on aircraft should be equalized by tariffs on whisky? And think about it: some of those European whiskies are owned by US firms (like Brown-Forman), imported and sold by US firms, and directly create American jobs. And they aren't airplanes, are they?

She had a hell of a good point there. This is bullshit. And I don't care if you like the President or not, remember this: he's a rich teetotaler. It ain't gonna hurt him at all.

But it IS going to hurt you. Directly, because everything is going to cost more. That's simple, and easy to understand. But indirectly, because if the price goes up, sales will go down, and guess what? We don't get the allocations anymore. Because France, and Taiwan, and Canada, and Germany, and Japan are all going to be buying up the good stuff because suddenly we aren't, and the distillers are going to be all, hey, why should we send anything nice to America? They screwed us.

So...if you haven't actually sent the email (it's so easy!) and left your comment (please feel free to use mine), would you please go do that? Thanks!


Albert Brooks said...

Make sure you leave out the "due to the president's total lack of knowledge about (pick your subject)"

Anonymous said...

Great to have you back Bloggin!