Thursday, 20 June 2019

20.6.19 Trump Threatens Tariff Increases on EU Wine

European wines, amongst them those of Jerez naturally, are facing tariff increases threatened by Donald Trump to give commercial advantage to wines produced in the United States. On Monday Trump announced his intention to increase tariffs on French wines, something which would by extension affect other EU wines since EU foreign trade works en bloc.

The president used a well known US television channel and later social media to make surprising declarations about complaints he had received from wine producers in California. According to him, the producers in question said to him during a recent visit “Sir, we are paying a lot to position our products in the French market yet you are allowing French wines – which are good, but so are ours – to enter the US market free, and that is not fair”.

What the president didn´t mention is that the producers he received were representatives of the giants of the US drinks sector, among whom are producers of fake Sherry, among many other famous European wines whose names have been (legally) usurped in the US where they are considered "generic" or a style of wine rather than a place of origin. That is not fair either.

Donald Trump does not drink.

Trump also omitted to mention that the serious wine producers in California, and other US states, had written to the White House in an attempt to cool the tension between Washington and Brussels, and to keep wine out of the trade war. Among the signatories to the letter were the influential Napa Valley Vintners Association, along with other associations like those of Sonoma, Oregon and Washington State, all with recognised American Viticultural Areas - the US equivalent of European Denominaciones de Origen – and Wine Origins, an international association for the protection of geographical wine names from misuse.

Members of both the US and European associations are in agreement against the new threat from Trump against French wine, and inevitably European wine in general, and are writing to both the president and the European Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström, asking for wine to be excluded from the trade war. It has nothing to do with the Boeing-Airbus dispute. As if this were not bad enough, there is also the matter of Brexit and the Consejo Regulador in Jerez has expressed great concern about its potentially very negative effects, and is working closely with Wine Origins.

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