Wed, Jun 12, 2019 - Page 10 News List

Trump renews threat against French wine


US President Donald Trump on Monday lashed out at France for unfair tariffs on “great” US wine.

Trump, who famously does not drink alcohol, said he would work to open the European market, again accusing France of creating unfair trade barriers to US wine exports.

“France charges us a lot for the wine and yet we charge them very little for French wine,” Trump said on CNBC.

US producers complain that French wines get to US shelves “for nothing,” he said, adding that “it’s not fair and we’ll do something about it.”

“We have great wine, too,” Trump said.

Washington and Brussels are preparing to begin negotiations on a trade deal to resolve a dispute Trump began last year by putting tariffs on steel and aluminum, but EU officials have repeatedly said they would not discuss agriculture.

In a Twitter outburst late last year, Trump likewise complained about wine trade.

EU import duties on wine are higher than US tariffs on European wines, including those from France, but EU consumers buy less of the US product. France is a major wine producer, but as part of the 28-member block does not set its own trade policy or tariffs.

Depending on the type and alcohol content, imported wine faces US duties of US$0.053 to US$0.127 a bottle, according to the US International Trade Commission.

Sparkling wines are taxed a higher rate of about US$0.149 a bottle.

However, US wines shipped to the EU face duties of US$0.11 to US$0.29 a bottle, according to the Wine Institute, a trade body promoting American exports.

Still, between 2007 and last year, US exports to France tripled, French customs figures show, and Europe was by far the largest export destination for US wines.

Last year, French exports of wine and spirits to the US grew 4.6 percent to US$3.6 billion, according to industry data, making the US the most valuable market for French exports.

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