First Trump’s trade war came for the soybeans, and I did not speak out because I was not a farmer.
Then Trump’s trade war came for the steel and aluminum, and I did not speak out because I was not from Pittsburgh or Gary, IN.
Then Trump’s trade war came for Harley-Davidson, and I did not speak out because let’s face it, Harleys are loud and obnoxious.
Then Trump’s trade war came for Irish whiskey and single-malt Scotch, and … wait, WHAT?
OK, now it’s personal!
These new 10 percent tariffs are the product of an ongoing dispute between the United States and the European Union over EU subsidies on large aircraft. These subsidies give, the United States argues, the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus an unfair competitive advantage over its American rival Boeing.
Yesterday, the World Trade Organization ruled in favor of the United States in this dispute, opening the door to a set of retaliatory tariffs targeting, basically, everything that makes life worth living. In addition to the whiskey, Irish butter, British cashmere, Italian cheeses, French wine.
And speaking of whiskey tariffs, this newest round just makes matters worse:
Industry trade groups on both sides of the Atlantic had been pleading with the Trump Administration to leave whisky out of this dispute, which is separate from the issue over steel and aluminum tariffs imposed by the U.S. last year that led to retaliatory tariffs on exports of Bourbon and other American whiskies to Europe. That 25% tariff has cost American whiskey makers more than $100 million in lost export sales since it was imposed in July of 2018, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.
As Canadian academic Jacob Levy quipped on Twitter, this is a demoralizing way to wage a trade war: