A decision by US President Donald Trump to raise taxes on European wine imports to 100 per cent threatens the entire wine seller industry, US wine merchants have warned.
A number of wine sellers have cautioned that their business will not be able to survive if the proposed tariffs go ahead.
They are lobbying for Mr Trump’s Government to drop the proposal, made in retaliation to EU subsidies given to Airbus.
Wine sellers have argued that raising tariffs, off the back of an earlier 25 per cent increase, will actually lead to job losses and price increases. Mr Trump has suggested that consumers could switch to US wine producers. His family owns a vineyard ink Virginia.
The BBC reports Benjamin Aneff, managing partner of Tribeca Wine Merchants: “It is without hyperbole that I tell you that the proposed tariffs would be the greatest threat to the wine and spirits industry since Prohibition, in 1919.”
America imports around $5bn (€4.5bn) in wine from Europe each year. Last October, the US levied a 25 per cent tax on European wines, imposed after the US won approval from the WTO to retaliate in dispute over subsidies to aviation company Airbus.
Media reports say that most American sellers succeeded in absorbing the impact of the first round of tariffs. Sellers caution that this time around, the 100 per cent tax will disrupt the industry, invite further retaliation and “place thousands of jobs at risk”.
A New-York based importer lamented how the tariffs are intended to be punitive measures against European countries, however they are having a “calamitous” impact on American small businesses, American workers and American consumers.