Cookies and wine?

Peace At Last In EU-US Tariff War

What is this likely to mean for the consumer? Wine prices are unlikely to drop in the short term as much of the costs will be absorbed by retailers; there are, however, exceptions to this. According to Ben Aneff, President of the US Wine Trade Alliance and instrumental in having tariffs frozen, prices of Burgundy and Bordeaux rosé are likely to be significantly lower for American importers and consumers.

This might sound a little underwhelming given the fanfare with which this news has been greeted. It is certainly true that the problem of tariffs has not been solved forever. All that President Biden and the United States Trade Representative have agreed is a postponement of the final decision. For at least five years, consumers and professionals on both sides of the Atlantic will be able to drink a little easier. Crucially, there is also a framework to solve problems going forward, which means that this postponement may well become the norm in future.

Let’s hope that the problem has been solved for now and for good. There are signs, however, that this might not be as easy as we hope. For a start, there may be a new president in 2026, and their political leanings are difficult to guess. There also remain significant alcohol tariffs between the EU and US in other areas, such as whisky and wine glasses. In October 2019, it appeared that a 25% import levy would be placed on wine crossing the Atlantic. Now this, like many of former President Trump’s economic decisions, seems to have been repealed. It isn’t before time: Aneff again described the tariffs as ‘self-inflicted damage’ and a hit of €400m was reported by FEVS in French wine exports to the USA in 2020.

Throughout his first presidential visit to Europe, President Biden has been building the bridges that were, if not burned, then certainly tested by his predecessor. With popular measures such as this, all of us can enjoy a rapprochement between transatlantic powerhouses – and maybe a glass as well.