Commissioner Quarles issues statement on tariffs lifted from Kentucky bourbon
Tariffs were imposed in 2018 in response to U.S.-imposed tariffs on aluminum, steel
FRANKFORT (March 25, 2022) – Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles is applauding an agreement reached this week between the United States and the United Kingdom that ends a 25 percent retaliatory tariff on Kentucky bourbon and American whiskey.
The tariffs were among those imposed in 2018 on some American products by the European Union (EU) in response to U.S. imposing a 25 percent tariff on steel and aluminum from the EU. An agreement to lift the tariffs was reached in October 2021 between the EU and the U.S. However, the UK and the U.S. didn’t finalize their agreements to end the tariffs until this week. The tariffs are slated to end June 1.
“The end of these tariffs was an issue I raised during my recent trade mission to the U.K. As agriculture commissioner, an essential responsibility of mine is advocating for Kentucky agriculture and farm families,” Commissioner Quarles said. “These tariffs were hurting the bourbon industry and those farm families that provide the agriculture necessities for the industry. While the end of these tariffs is excellent news, I would encourage the Biden administration to move forward on free trade agreements critical to the agriculture sector of our economy.”
Commissioner Quarles recently returned from the United Kingdom where he met with UK officials including Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan and Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs George Eustice. While in the UK, he directly advocated for the end of bourbon tariffs.
Bourbon industry impact:
- -- Kentucky is home to 95 percent of the global bourbon industry. Responsible for $9 billion in annual economic output, the bourbon industry in Kentucky creates an estimated 22,500 jobs with a $1.23 billion annual payroll.
- -- More than 75 percent of corn used by the Kentucky Distillers' Association members comes from Kentucky farms.
- -- Prior to the tariffs Kentucky bourbon exports increased by 98 percent between 2010 and 2017.
- -- Tariffs imposed on U.S. spirits decreased exports of Kentucky bourbon by 35 percent in 2020, with shipments to the European Union decreasing by nearly 50 percent, according to the Kentucky Distillers’ Association.