IRISH WHISKEY exports could be hit by new US tariffs.
Back in October, it was announced that a raft of goods including Irish butter, cheese and pork were to be subjected to US duties.
The tariffs were introduced in direct retaliation to previous EU aircraft subsidies for Airbus UK.
At that point, Irish whiskey from Northern Ireland and the Republic was made exempt from the new tariffs.
However, there are fresh concerns that spirits from the region could fall foul of the additional charges.
The World Trade Organisation this week reported that Europe has yet to comply with the obligations to remove the subsidies handed to Airbus.
As a result, the office of the US Trade Representative is considering an increase in the tariff rates and the introduction of additional tariffs for other EU products.
“In light of today’s report and the lack of progress in efforts to resolve this dispute, the United States is initiating a process to assess increasing the tariff rates and subjecting additional EU products to the tariffs,” US trade representative Robert Lighthizer said.
“The EU’s frivolous case proves that strong action is needed to convince the EU that its interests lie in eliminating these market-distorting subsidies now and in the future, so that our industries can compete on a level playing field.”
Writing in a letter to its members, William Lavelle, head of Drinks Ireland warned of a "serious ongoing threat that tariffs could yet be applied to more Irish whiskeys, particularly in light of the Ibec assessment that the US had only imposed tariffs worth a small fraction of the overall total they were allowed to impose."
"This threat has now escalated further," he added.
The US only previously imposed tariffs a small fraction of the $7.5 billion worth of tariffs they were permitted to impose in October.
Irish whiskey was previously exempted from the list of products subjected to a 25% tariff.
It does, however, reserve the right to add or remove products from the list.