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Senators ask for removal of tariffs on EU food, wine, spirits: report

Senators ask for removal of tariffs on EU food, wine, spirits: report
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A bipartisan group of more than a dozen U.S. senators is asking the U.S. trade representative (USTR) to drop tariffs on European food, wine and spirits.

In a letter to the USTR's office on Friday, 13 senators wrote that restaurants, stores, distributors and importers in the U.S. face “severe economic hardship due to the increased cost of goods” and that “demand for these goods has declined, leaving importers and distributors with months’ worth of product, much of it perishable, in storage and in transit with no clear end date for the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Signers of the letter include Sens. Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezSenate confirms Antony Blinken as Biden's secretary of State Biden must wait weekend for State Department pick Senate presses Biden's pick for secretary of State on Iran, China, Russia and Yemen MORE (D-N.J.), Cory GardnerCory GardnerOvernight Defense: Joint Chiefs denounce Capitol attack | Contractors halt donations after siege | 'QAnon Shaman' at Capitol is Navy vet Lobbying world Senate swears-in six new lawmakers as 117th Congress convenes MORE (R-Colo.), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenators discussing Trump censure resolution Senate GOP signals it's likely to acquit Trump for second time Just five GOP senators vote Trump impeachment trial is constitutional MORE (R-Maine), Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinBush-, Obama-era officials urge Senate to swiftly confirm Biden's DHS pick Senate committee advances Biden's DHS pick despite Republican pushback Hillicon Valley: Intelligence agency gathers US smartphone location data without warrants, memo says | Democrats seek answers on impact of Russian hack on DOJ, courts | Airbnb offers Biden administration help with vaccine distribution MORE (D-Calif.), Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyGovernment used Patriot Act to gather website visitor logs in 2019 Appeals court rules NSA's bulk phone data collection illegal Dunford withdraws from consideration to chair coronavirus oversight panel MORE (R-Pa.), Cory BookerCory BookerNew sitcom follows 'The Rock' as he runs for president in 2032 What the shift in Senate control means for marijuana policy reform Democrats seek answers on impact of Russian cyberattack on Justice Department, Courts MORE (D-N.J.) and John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoSenate GOP signals it's likely to acquit Trump for second time OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court upholds ruling invalidating Dakota Access, but doesn't shut down pipeline | Schumer calls for Biden to declare climate emergency | Biden seeks to bolster consultation with Indian Country Senate to vote Tuesday on Biden's secretary of State pick MORE (R-Wyo.), Reuters reported.

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The U.S. imposed the tariffs on up to $7.5 billion of European goods last year in retaliation for European Union subsidies on large aircraft. They affected goods range from French wine to single-malt Scotch whisky, as well as German coffee and pork sausage produced in the EU, Reuters noted.

The U.S. Distilled Spirits Council has also called for an end to the tariffs, saying the alcohol industry “has suffered enough.”

“These tariffs are exacerbating the incredible burden hospitality businesses are experiencing with the widespread closures of bars and restaurants due to COVID-19.  The U.S. and EU need to seek measures to bolster hospitality jobs, not saddle businesses with unnecessary tariffs,” the organization said in a July 27 statement.

According to an analysis by the council, U.S. tariffs on wine, spirits and beer could cost between 13,700 and 95,900 U.S. jobs.

“We are calling on both sides to de-escalate the disputes and return to the 1994 zero-for-zero agreement on both sides of the Atlantic which has been instrumental to our success and job creation in the U.S., EU and UK,” the group said.