Today, Ben Aneff, president of the U.S. Wine Trade Alliance, issued the following statement in response to the U.S Trade Representative’s decision to keep the United States’ 25 percent tariff on European wine:
“USWTA, along with U.S. wine businesses across the country, is devastated by USTR’s decision. Wine tariffs have absolutely no place in a dispute between Europe and the United States over aircraft subsidies.
“The tariff on wine has utterly failed to punish European firms. For every dollar of damage in Europe, these tariffs inflict $4.50 of harm on U.S. businesses.
“With its recent decision, USTR ignored a massive outpouring of public concern. In one of the single largest responses the agency has ever received, tens of thousands of Americans wrote to the USTR to outline the economic devastation these tariffs cause U.S. businesses, and to demand the removal of these tariffs. Fourteen Senators and 164 members of the House of Representatives — of every political persuasion — came together to call for an end to these tariffs.
“The USTR owes these Americans an answer as to why their outcry was disregarded. This decision highlights serious questions about how the USTR is currently damaging small, mom-and-pop restaurants and wine businesses throughout our nation, at the height of the worst pandemic in a century. The USTR also owes Boeing an explanation. The agency continues to deal out more punishment to small, unrelated U.S. businesses than to Airbus, the recipient of the illegal subsidies at the heart of this dispute.
“USTR’s decision might be more understandable if it was supported by a studied cost-benefit analysis, showing that the benefits of these tariffs outweighed the damage they are inflicting here in the United States. The fact of the matter is that the USTR hasn’t produced any analytics that support its continued commitment to this flawed policy, despite being explicitly asked to do so on a number of occasions.
“USTR’s decision has delivered a severe blow to American wine businesses and restaurants. But we will not stay quiet. USWTA will continue to tell the story of the harm these tariffs cause, and to press Congress and the administration to eliminate the tariff.”