US to slap tariffs of 25% on French wines

The World Trade Organisation has cleared the US to hit EU goods with $7.5bn of tariffs. Wines from selected EU countries are on the hit list.

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash
Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

The US has been given the go-ahead by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to slap up to $75.bn worth of sanctions on European products, including wine. Tariffs are set to come into effect on 18 October 2019.

The US has a list of items it can penalise, from sweet biscuits, to metal tweezers. Included on the list is wine from Germany, Spain, France and the UK, provided the wines are not more than 14% abv and are not in containers over two litres. According to the BBC, agricultural items such as wine will face tariffs of 25%.

The US is France’s major export market for wine, valued at €3.2 billion in 2018.

“We remain of the view that even if the United States obtains authorisation from the WTO Dispute Settlement Body, opting for applying countermeasures now would be short-sighted and counterproductive,” said Cecilia Malmström, EU Trade Commissioner for Trade, in a public statement.

The US and the EU have been odds over aviation subsidies, and the WTO has said both sides can hit each other with tariffs. Today’s decision is reportedly the largest penalty it has ever awarded.

The EU is waiting to hear what tariffs of their own the WTO will clear them to impose.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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