World whisk(e)y leaders heading to Kentucky for trade war crisis talks

The world’s leading whisk(e)y associations are heading to Kentucky for a crisis meeting over the impact of an escalating trade war with the US.

The Kentucky Distillers’ Association has called the summit to discuss how best to counteract the potential for long-term economic damage.

The trade war began when President Donald Trump decided to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports to the US.

The EU responded by slapping retaliatory tariffs on US products, including American whiskey, Harley Davidsons and Levi’s jeans. Canada also responded with a 10% tariff increase on American whiskey after its steel and aluminium industries were hit.

The US is also embroiled in a trade war with China, and the Chinese response was to whack up tariffs on American whiskey by 25%.

The price of popular brands such as Jack Daniel’s and Woodford Reserve is now on the rise, and fears abound that the US could retaliate with a punitive tariff on Scotch whisky.

In response the predicament, representatives from eight associations – Distilled Spirits Council, Irish Whiskey & Spirits Associations. Japan Spirits & Liqueurs Producers Makers Association, Kentucky Distillers’ Association, Scotch Whisky Association, Spirits Canada, Spirits Europe and The President’s Forum – will put their heads together in the heart of bourbon country to attempt to find a solution.

“W8 – Spirit of Collaboration Summit” will take place from July 25-26

“Now more than ever, our groups need to be communicating directly and, hopefully, speaking with a unified voice,” said KDA president Eric Gregory. “The global whiskey industry has been enjoying an unprecedented level of success to the benefit of our legendary producers, consumers, countries and local communities.

“It’s critical that we maintain this momentum and ensure that world leaders understand the deep economic impact of whiskey and how it will be affected if this unfortunate trade war escalates or continues to extend.

“The potential for long-term damage is real.”

A spokesperson for the SWA said: “We wholeheartedly support the efforts of the UK government and the EU to secure the freest possible trading relationship between the EU and the US.

“The economies on both sides of the Atlantic depend on trade for their continued prosperity. We hope that both sides can continue to engage to resolve this situation.”

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