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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) MenendezSchumer says Senate will vote on repealing 2002 war authorization The Hill's Morning Report - Biden-Putin meeting to dominate the week Sanders drops bid to block Biden's Israel arms sale MORE (D-N.J.), Cory GardnerCory GardnerBiden administration reverses Trump changes it says 'undermined' conservation program Gardner to lead new GOP super PAC ahead of midterms OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court rules against fast-track of Trump EPA's 'secret science' rule | Bureau of Land Management exodus: Agency lost 87 percent of staff in Trump HQ relocation | GM commits to electric light duty fleet by 2035 MORE (R-Colo.), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsCentrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting Biden struggles to detail post-withdrawal Afghanistan plans White House reiterates opposition to raising gas tax amid infrastructure debate MORE (R-Maine), Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinYouth climate activists march outside California homes of Pelosi and Feinstein Cosmetic chemicals need a makeover Progressives want to tighten screws beyond Manchin and Sinema MORE (D-Calif.), Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyBlack women look to build upon gains in coming elections Watch live: GOP senators present new infrastructure proposal Sasse rebuked by Nebraska Republican Party over impeachment vote MORE (R-Pa.), Cory BookerCory BookerDemocrats introduce resolution apologizing to LGBT community for government discrimination Zombie Tax punishes farmers to fill DC coffers Rand Paul does not support a national minimum wage increase — and it's important to understand why MORE (D-N.J.) and John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoDemocrats facing tough reelections back bipartisan infrastructure deal Judge halts Biden pause on new public lands oil leasing GOP senator: I want to make Biden a 'one-half-term president' 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.