17 ASSOCIATIONS DEMAND END TO WINE AND SPIRITS TARIFFS

17 associations representing both the US and European wine and spirit trades have submitted comments opposing proposals for further US tariffs on wine, beer and spirits. industry bodies have submitted comments to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) after news of another tariff review last month.

In addition to existing tariffs on still wine, Scotch whisky and liqueurs, the US said it was considering further levies of up to 100% on beer, gin and vodka made in France, Germany, Spain, and the UK.

The dispute relates to EU subsidies given to aviation company Airbus over US-based rival Boeing.

In their comments, the groups cited the latest data which revealed that US imports of Scotch whisky were down by almost 33% between October 2019 and May 2020, while imports of wine fell by 44% and liqueurs and cordials by 23% during the same period.

Analysis conducted by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), one of the groups to submit comments, warned that US tariffs on UK and EU wine, distilled spirits and beer could lead to as many as 95,900 job losses, depending on the extent of the tariffs.

In a joint statement, the group said: “Our 17 US, EU and UK associations are united in strong opposition to tariffs on beverage alcohol products. We are speaking with one voice in calling for the US administration and the European Commission to remove the current tariffs on spirits and wine from the EU and UK, and American whiskeys, and to forgo imposing any additional tariffs on beverage alcohol products. We hope Friday’s announcement by Airbus and the legislation passed in Washington State in March regarding civil aviation subsidies are significant steps toward the elimination of tariffs.

“Beverage alcohol sectors on both sides of the Atlantic have 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 US and EU need to seek measures to bolster hospitality jobs, not saddle businesses with unnecessary tariffs,” they added.

In October 2019, the US has imposed tariffs on US$7.5 billion worth of EU goods – including wine, spirits and liqueurs – as result of this dispute. The country first imposed 25% tariffs on drinks including Scotch whisky and wine (not over 14% ABV) made in France, Germany, Spain and the UK. The EU has stated that it may impose retaliatory tariffs on US rum, vodka, brandy and wine.

In a separate dispute in June 2018, the EU imposed a 25% tariff on all US whiskey imports. It is scheduled to increase these tariffs to 50% in spring 2021.

In addition to DISCUS, the 16 other associations include: SpiritsEurope, the Scotch Whisky Association, American Beverage Licensees, the National Retail Federation, the American Craft Spirits Association, the American Distilled Spirits Alliance, the National Council of Chain Restaurants, Kentucky Distillers’ Association, the National Association of Beverage Importers, the National Restaurant Association, the US Wine & Trade Alliance, WineAmerica, the Wine Institute, the Wine and Spirits Shippers Association, Wines & Spirits Wholesalers of America, and the National Association of Wine Retailers.

Source:  Drinks Business

The European Union Announces “Exceptional Support Measures” for Wine Sector

The Commission adopted yesterday an additional package of exceptional measures to support the wine sector, following the coronavirus crisis and its consequences on the sector. The wine sector is among the hardest hit agri-food sectors, due to rapid changes in demand and the closure of restaurants and bars across the EU, which was not compensated by home consumption.

These new measures include the temporary authorization for operators to self-organize market measures, the increase of the European Union’s contribution for wine national support programs, and the introduction of advance payments for crisis distillation and storage.

Janusz Wojciechowski, Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner states:“The wine sector has been among the sectors hit hardest by the coronavirus crisis and the related lockdown measures taken across the EU. The first package of market-specific measures adopted by the Commission has already provided significant support. Nonetheless, the uncertainties surrounding the scale of the crisis at EU and global level, and a close monitoring of the market has led us to propose a new package of measures for the wine sector. I am confident that these measures will provide rapidly concrete results for the EU wine sector and soon provide stability.”

The Exceptional Measures include:

  • Temporary derogation from the European Union’s competition rules: Article 222 of the Common Markets Organisation Regulation (CMO) allows the Commission to adopt temporary derogations from certain EU competition rules in situations of severe market imbalances. The Commission has now adopted such a derogation for the wine sector, allowing operators to self-organize and implement market measures at their level to stabilize their sector and in the respect of the functioning of the internal market for a maximum period of 6 months. For example, they will be allowed to plan joint promotion activities, to organize storage by private operators and to commonly plan production;
  • Increase of the European Union’s contribution: the European Union’s contribution for all measures of the national support programs will increase by 10% and reach 70%. A previous exceptional measure had already increased it from 50% to 60%. This will provide financial relief to beneficiaries;
  • Advanced payments for crisis distillation and storage: the Commission will allow Member States to provide advanced payments to operators for on-going distillation and crisis storage operations. These advances can cover up to 100% of costs and will allow Member States to fully utilize their national support program funds for this year.These measures complement the recently adopted package, which benefited the wine sector through the flexibility provided under market support programs. This included for instance an increased flexibility of tools to control production potential, the so-called green harvesting tool, and the possibility to include temporary new measures such as the opening of distillation of wine in case of crisis or an aid to crisis storage of wine.

In addition, the Commission also launched two calls for proposals for promotion that aim to support the sectors most affected by the crisis, including the wine sector. The two calls will be opened until 27 August 2020.
The commission said it is the first time that it has issued such calls. One call relates to ‘simple programs’, which can be submitted by one or more companies from the same EU country. The other relates to ‘multi programs’, which can be submitted by at least two companies from at least two EU member states, or by one or more European organizations. Janusz Wojciechowski, states that the first package of support measures had “already provided significant support”.

BARON PHILIPPE DE ROTHSCHILD APPOINTS ARIANE KHAIDA TO MANAGE ITS CHÂTEAUX WINES DIVISION

The Board of Directors of Baron Philippe de Rothschild SA has recently appointed Ariane Khaida to the position of Executive Director, Châteaux Wines – this includes: Château Mouton Rothschild, Château Clerc Milon, Château d’Armailhac, and Domaine de Baronarques. Effective July 1, 2020. Ms Khaida will also sit on the Board of Directors of Opus One, Chile’s Almaviva and Domaine de Baronarques in the Languedoc.

Born into a non-winemaking family in the Champagne village of Rilly la Montagne, Khaida spent five years working for luxury goods giant LVMH, two of them as the buyer of Louis Vuitton leathers, a role that saw her select skins all over the world.

In 2014 she was the first woman to be made the head of a major Bordeaux négociant house, running Duclot, owned by the Moueix family.

As the manager of leading Bordeaux merchant houses, Ms Khaida demonstrated her energy, her decision-making ability, her capacity for forward-thinking and her excellent knowledge of the world of fine wines.

She will succeed Philippe Dhalluin, who has decided to retire after more than 15 years as manager of the company’s estates and will relinquish his position as Executive

Director, Châteaux Wines on 1 July 2020.  In order to ensure the smooth handover of responsibilities within the Châteaux Wines division, he will continue to serve as Adviser to the Chairman until 1 December 2020, at which date he will leave the company.

“My family and I express our deepest thanks to Philippe Dhalluin for all his wonderful work. Over the last 15 years, he has taken Mouton Rothschild and our other family châteaux to an unprecedented level of excellence and reputation. He has also been successful in attracting and training the necessary talents to continue our unceasing quest for excellence”, said Philippe Sereys de Rothschild, Chairman and CEO of Baron Philippe de Rothschild SA.

WBWE Asia Launches Virtual Wine Exhibition July 12-13 in Yantai

The World Bulk Wine Exhibition, WBWE Asia has just launched a virtual wine exhibition, which will include an online trading system in which wineries will establish direct contact with buyers.

How it will work

The technology-based communication system will allow wineries to close deals without being in person at the trade fair. Wines will be shipped to China as usual and displayed with a promotional stand, material and staff representing the winery. Chinese buyers and merchants will be able to taste the wine and can ask winery managers any further details via WBWE Asia’s virtual system.

WBWE will be inviting buyers, purchasing managers, consultants, managers, merchants and the media to the fair on 12-13 July in the city of Yantai. All attendees will receive a list of those exhibiting before the show starts.

Winery managers who are unable to travel to the exhibition can instead “virtually attend”.

The statement noted: “Winery managers will be able to do business from their offices or their place of origin, whilst virtually attending the fair with the same trading warranty as if they were in China.

“Right now, it is too soon to be certain that the fairs of the future will follow this route, yet we cannot afford to run the risk of stopping exports while we wait to see what unfolds.”

“WBWE Asia ensures that your winery is accurately displayed and that your wines are available to be tasted by an important portfolio of buyers and distributors from China, whether you can attend the fair in person or via the internet.”

WBWE Asia noted that the bulk wine market was helping the Chinese market to recover from Covid losses. Imports of bag-in-box (BIB) to China rose from 1.12 million litres to 1.14 million litres in the first quarter of 2020.

World Bulk Wine Exhibition ASIA Website wbweasia.com

Good News: South Africa wine exports go-ahead during lockdown

The South African wine industry has been given authorization to export wines during the country’s current lockdown.

Following intense lobbying of the South Africa government by an Industry Exporters Task Team, the Minister of Transport stated in a release yesterday, April 7: “During the lockdown period, the transportation of the wines and any other fresh produce products at the seaports and international Airports Designated as Port of Entry for export is allowed.”

“Agricultural Cargo is allowed to be transported to seaports and International Airports Designated as Ports of Entry and exported to the relevant destination.”

The move is important for South Africa’s wine producers and fruit farmers as much of their produce is exported, and 50% of all wine produced is exported.

Rico Basson of Vinpro, which represents 3,500 members of the South African wine industry, tweeted, “We are very grateful for the dispensation to allow the exports of South African Wine”.

A statement from The Exporters Task Team also praised the decision: “Government and all the respective role-players [have shown] an understanding for the industry’s challenges through this concession, as nearly half of South Africa’s wine production is exported and a restriction on exports would have a severe effect on wine-related businesses, but most importantly the livelihood of close to 300,000 people employed by the wine industry value-chain.”

The Task Team emphasized that it recognized “the severity” of the Covid-19 pandemic, asking all businesses and people to “strictly adhere to the regulations” set out by government to ensure the safety of all employees during the lockdown.

Describing the development as “very good news for the industry”, Wines of South Africa‘s (WoSA) UK market manager Jo Wehring clarified that, “this exemption only relates to finished product that is ready for shipping in either bulk or packaged format”, adding it is “a massive step in the right direction and will bring much relief”.

WoSA recently announced that the 2020 vintage would deliver ‘exceptional wines’, after a last minute concession from government allowed harvesting to take place.