DISCUS: Congressional Approval of Free Trade Agreements
Will Increase Exports and Support U.S. Jobs
WASHINGTON – The Distilled Spirits Council said today Congressional approval of free trade agreements (FTAs) with Colombia, South Korea, and Panama will lead to significant increases in American distilled spirits exports, while contributing to job growth in the U.S.
“Market opening agreements such as these are critical to improving our competitiveness in the global distilled spirits marketplace and to growing jobs in the United States” said Dr. Peter Cressy, Distilled Spirits Council President and CEO.
“Beneficial provisions contained in these historic agreements will help to significantly increase U.S. spirits exports, especially Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey, in these rapidly growing export markets,” he added. “America makes great spirits products, and adult consumers around the globe should be able to enjoy them unencumbered by tariffs or other market-distorting barriers.”
Under the agreements, all three trading partners have agreed to eliminate tariffs on U.S. distilled spirits upon implementation or over five to ten years, depending on the product.
“These agreements will level the playing field for U.S. spirits and, in some cases, actually provide U.S. spirits a competitive advantage,” Cressy added. “For example, as soon as the U.S.-Korea FTA enters into force, the current 20% tariff on Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey will be completely eliminated. This is particularly important since Korea is one the largest spirits markets in the world.”
In addition to removing tariff barriers, all three agreements will protect Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey as distinctive products of the U.S. This will further expand international recognition that Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey must be made in America according to U.S. standards. These products account for approximately 66% of total U.S. spirits exports worldwide.
“We are extremely grateful to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Agriculture for the excellent results they achieved for distilled spirits in these agreements,” Cressy concluded. “The U.S. spirits industry looks forward to prompt implementation of the FTAs in order to begin reaping the benefits they provide.”
Over the past 10 years, global U.S. spirits exports have more than doubled; in 2010, the value of total U.S. spirits exports exceeded $1 billion for the fourth consecutive year. The value of U.S. spirits exports to Korea, Colombia and Panama collectively has grown to $16 million in 2010, representing a 97% increase since 2006.
****The Distilled Spirits Council is the trade association representing producers and marketers of distilled spirits sold in the United States.