Kentuckians react to trade agreement reached to lift U.K. tariffs on bourbon

United Kingdom steel and aluminium exports to the United States are now tariff free

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – United Kingdom steel and aluminium exports to the United States are now tariff free, thanks to a newly secured resolution between both nations. According to the Department for International Trade, the agreement follows months of talks.

According to the Department for International Trade, the US will allow a certain volume of metals from the UK to be imported duty-free starting June 1. In return, Britain agreed to lift tariffs on more than $500 million worth of products which includes American whiskey.

The Kentucky Distillers’ Association (KDA) and its 50 member companies celebrated the news saying in part, “After a four-year dry spell, it’s time to raise a toast.”

According to the KDA, imposed in 2018, the tariffs reversed what had previously been tremendous growth in Kentucky Bourbon exports to the UK, costing distillers, industry partners and farm families hundreds of millions of dollars.

Bourbon is one of Kentucky’s most historic and treasured industries with a $9 billion annual economic and tourism engine that sustains 22,500 good-paying jobs in the Commonwealth and a $1.23 billion payroll.

According to the KDA, Kentucky distillers also are in the middle of a 10-year, $5.2 billion building spree to meet the growing global thirst for America’s only native spirit. There are now more than 10.3 million barrels of Bourbon aging in Kentucky, a record amount.

KDA President Eric Gregory thanked the Biden Administration saying, “With the suspension of these tariffs, we look forward to rekindling bourbon enthusiasm in the U.K. and helping our legendary distillers further share the finest Bourbon for all the world to enjoy.”

Congressman John Yarmuth, founder and Co-Chair of the Congressional Bourbon Caucus, says he was thrilled to see the agreement.

“From grain to glass, American whiskey helps power our economy here in Louisville and across our Commonwealth, and I was proud to lead the call to end these unfair tariffs and remove our distilled spirits from unrelated trade disputes,” said Yarmuth. “I thank President Biden, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, and United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai for getting this done. Good American jobs depend on it.”

Brown-Forman, one of the largest companies in the spirit and wine business, commended the Biden Administration.

“As a result of the agreement, American whiskey will again enjoy tariff-free trade between the U.S. and the U.K. as of June 1, 2022,” said Lawson Whiting, President and Chief Executive Officer of Brown-Forman Corporation. “Today’s announcement follows the removal of the EU’s tariff on American whiskey on January 1, 2022.”

Whiting added, “The removal of tariffs on American whiskey and other U.S. exports creates more opportunities for the continued international growth of our American-made products.”

U.S. Senate Republican Mitch McConnell (R-KY) also issued the following statement:

“It’s great to hear the U.K. will end its tariffs against a bevy of American products, including Kentucky’s signature spirit. Bourbon exports support thousands of jobs in the Commonwealth, and I will always fight for our distillers’ access to global markets.”

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