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Here’s what’s happening with the US Wine Tariff in 2021

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04/03/2021 Covid may be settling down, but the global wine industry still has a long fight to adjust to the new norms set by one of the world’s biggest wine buyers - the USA.

Effective 12 January 2021, the US has expanded its 25% import duty increase on European wines to include French and German still wines over 14% alcohol in both bottled and bulk form, scuppering moves by suppliers to circumvent the increase by bottling in the US or importing higher-alcohol wines. 

The tariff hikes on these products are an expansion of the original tranche, effective since 18 October 2019, on French, Spanish, German, and UK wines “not over 14% alcohol, in containers, not over 2 liters”, levied as part of the long-running US-EU aircraft subsidies dispute. 

In late 2020 the EU retaliated to those US tariff hikes by imposing its own 25% import duty increases on – among other items – US rum, brandy, vodka, and vermouth. The Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) has since claimed this response was disproportionate as the EU based it on “trade data from a period in which trade volumes had been drastically reduced due to the horrific effects on the global economy from the COVID-19 virus”. As such, the USTR has now levied these new tariffs on French and German wines “to keep the two actions proportionate to each other”. 

The following French and German wines and wine/ grape-based products are part of this action (HTS subheading in brackets): 

  • Effervescent grape wine, in containers holding 2 liters or less” (2204.21.20) 

  • Tokay wine (not carbonated) not over 14% alcohol, in containers not over 2 liters” (2204.21.30) 

  • Marsala” wine, over 14% vol. alcohol, in containers holding 2 liters or less (2204.21.60)

  • Grape wine, other than ‘Marsala’, not sparkling or effervescent, over 14% vol. alcohol, in containers holding 2 liters or less” (2204.21.80)

  • Wine of fresh grapes, other than sparkling wine, of an alcoholic strength by volume <=14% in containers holding

  • Wine of fresh grapes, other than sparkling wine, of an alcoholic strength by volume >14% in containers holding over 2 liters but not over 4 liters” (2204.22.40)

  • Wine of fresh grapes, other than sparkling wine, of an alcoholic strength by volume <=14% in containers holding over 4 liters but not over 10 liters” (2204.22.60)

  • Wine of fresh grapes, other than sparkling wine, of an alcoholic strength by volume >14% in containers holding over 4 liters but not over 10 liters” (2204.22.80)

  • Wine of fresh grapes, other than sparkling wine, of an alcoholic strength by volume <=14% in containers holding >10 liters” (2204.29.61)

  • Wine of fresh grapes, other than sparkling wine, of an alcoholic strength by volume >14% in containers holding >10 liters” (2204.29.81)

  • Grape must, nesoi, in fermentation or with fermentation arrested otherwise than by the addition of alcohol” (2204.30.00)

  • Spirits obtained by distilling grape wine or grape marc (grape brandy), other than Pisco and Singani, in containers each holding not over 4 liters, valued over $38 per proof liter” (2208.20.40: “only a portion of HS8 digit is to be covered”)

Source Global Ciatti Market Report