Allegrini 2018

US duties on EU wine: January 13 is coming, but Italian and European institutions remain silent

While in the world we are taking sides against what would be a catastrophe for the Americans too, in Italy the producers launch an online petition
ITALY, Usa tariffs, WINE, News
U.S. wine duties on EU wine: January 13 is close

The public consultation launched by the Ustr (United States Trade Representative), which will influence the decision of the U.S. Department of Commerce on whether or not to apply a new wave of duties, up to 100%, on all European wines, is due to close on January 13. A threat that has been manifesting itself for almost a month now, since Federvini among the trade organizations, and WineNews among the media, gave news of the Trump administration’s initiative, and which, as many messages and phone calls from important names in Italian wine have testified, arouses a strong and tangible concern, at least among Italian companies. Since then, if several players of international criticism and wine trade in the USA have moved, with positions, appeals, open letters and petitions, against what would be an important damage for the whole sector in the United States, Italy, for which a loss of market in the States would be a catastrophe, as well as wine Europe itself, which has an essential partner in the USA, seem to limit themselves to look and hope that the duties will not come.
Not a clear and official position taken by the institutions, if not some statement extrapolated from other contexts, nor initiatives that, as far as possible, could influence a crucial decision for a sector that, in Italy alone, moves a total turnover of over 12 million euros to production, and animates the work of thousands of wineries and winemakers throughout the country. An exception is the petition launched online, on the Change.org platform, by a hundred Italian winemakers “captained” by Antonio Fino, producer and lecturer at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, who, in a few days, put together almost 3.000 signatures, to ask Italian institutions (in particular the Minister of Agriculture Teresa Bellanova and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Luigi Di Maio, as well as the President of the Agriculture Commission at the Camara dei Deputati, Filippo Gallinella) and European institutions (from the President of the European Parliament David Sassoli to the EU Commissioner for Agriculture Janus Wojciechowski, to the Commissioner for the Economy Paolo Gentiloni), to “take on the problem that has no precedent and is unparalleled, for its dangerousness and negative consequences”. A call to arms which, we hope will be taken up immediately and translated into diplomatic actions, as far as possible, as effective as possible.
In the meantime, among the many important names in the sector, from Antonio Galloni with Vinous to Marvin Shanken with Wine Spectator, passing through Jancis Robinson, just to name a few, yesterday on the pages of the prestigious “The New York Times” Eric Asimov, the newspaper’s enoic signature, also expressed his opinion that “duties of this size would be catastrophic even for Americans working in the beverage and catering sector”. According to some estimates reported by Jancis Robinson herself, U.S. operators, from duties of this magnitude, could lose revenues for a figure like 2 billion dollars, putting at risk over 10,000 jobs. According to the U.S. National Association of Wine Retailers, again, 100% tariffs would lead to a consumer price increase of around 150%, with a damage that, thus, would certainly be borne by European producers, but also American consumers. A schok for the wine market that derives from the dispute between the US and the EU on the fight between the two giants of the aircraft industry Boeing and Airbus, and which has already led, in October, to a first wave of duties on many European products, from cheese to Italian liqueurs to some French wines and beyond. But the second wave, as in a tsunami, could be much more devastating.

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