The Massive Tariff Increase on French Wine Has Officially Been Delayed

updated Jan 21, 2020
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

A few weeks ago, the threat of dire tariffs roiled the wine industry. As we reported at the beginning of the year, Trump’s latest trade war had escalated to the point that he was threatening to place what was basically an 100% tariff (a tax on imports/exports) on French wine imports among other products. The American wine industry was rightfully upset: while the tariff was designed to pressure the French into acquiescing on tariffs in other industries, the fact of the matter was that the people that were going to be hurt, lose money, and lose jobs were people right here in the United States.

After major uproar from the wine industry, and discussions between the U.S. and France, CNN reports that the tariffs have been delayed, so will not be going into effect — or at least not yet. At the end of last year, a 25% tariff was imposed on many European goods, including cheeses, whiskies, wines, and olive oils, but most of that was absorbed by producers and importers so that it wouldn’t affect business too much. But when the 100% tariff was proposed, there was no room left to do anything besides pass that cost on to consumers. The results — besides everybody having to pay twice as much for each bottle of European wine — would have been a huge drop in sales for anyone selling wines from France.

Instead, this disaster has been avoided for the time being — at least through the end of this year, it seems. While the White House statement didn’t confirm anything about it beyond that it was discussed and the outlook was good, the French were more forthcoming in saying that the wine was safe from a price hike. French president, Emmanuel Macron, tweeted that he had a great discussion with the American president about the digital tax (the one causing the escalating disagreement), “We will work together on a good agreement to avoid tariff escalation.”

So cheers, or “à votre santé” …for now.