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) MenendezKasie Hunt to host lead-in show for MSNBC's 'Morning Joe' Senators ask for removal of tariffs on EU food, wine, spirits: report VOA visa decision could hobble Venezuela coverage MORE (D-N.J.), Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerOvernight Health Care: US coronavirus deaths hit 200,000 | Ginsburg's death puts future of ObamaCare at risk | Federal panel delays vote on initial COVID-19 vaccine distribution The Hill's Campaign Report: GOP set to ask SCOTUS to limit mail-in voting Senate GOP sees early Supreme Court vote as political booster shot MORE (R-Colo.), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenate GOP aims to confirm Trump court pick by Oct. 29: report The Hill's Campaign Report: GOP set to ask SCOTUS to limit mail-in voting Senate GOP sees early Supreme Court vote as political booster shot MORE (R-Maine), Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinBiden leads Trump by 12 points among Catholic voters: poll Names to watch as Trump picks Ginsburg replacement on Supreme Court McConnell says Trump nominee to replace Ginsburg will get Senate vote MORE (D-Calif.), Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyAppeals court rules NSA's bulk phone data collection illegal Dunford withdraws from consideration to chair coronavirus oversight panel GOP senators push for quick, partial reopening of economy MORE (R-Pa.), Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerBipartisan praise pours in after Ginsburg's death DHS opens probe into allegations at Georgia ICE facility Democratic lawmakers call for an investigation into allegations of medical neglect at Georgia ICE facility MORE (D-N.J.) and John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoGOP senator attacks Biden: 'I'm not sure what he recalls' Oil and gas is a partner — not an adversary — in meeting our economic and environmental goals Murkowski: Supreme Court nominee should not be taken up before election 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.