June 7, 2018 / 8:09 PM / a year ago

Retaliatory tariffs may hit 46 percent of U.S. spirits exports - trade body

A bottle of Bulleit bourbon whiskey is seen at the Spirit de Milan cafe in Milan, Italy, October 13, 2017. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

(Reuters) - A U.S. spirits trade body said on Thursday that 46 percent of global spirits exports from the United States could be at risk of facing retaliatory tariffs, following President Donald Trump’s move to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports.

An estimated $759 million (£565.5 million) worth of spirits exports are the target of tariffs from the country’s trading partners, which, if imposed, would severely harm producers, farmers and industries associated with the spirits business, the U.S. Distilled Spirits Council said in a letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

The trade group estimated that 65 percent of global U.S. whiskey would take a hit if the European Union, Canada, Turkey and/or China retaliated.

“The imposition of tariffs on these products by our major trading partners threatens to seriously impede the export progress that has benefited our sector and created jobs across the country,” Clarkson Hine, interim president and chief executive officer of Distilled Spirits Council said in a letter.

The United States has placed a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminium imports from countries including the EU, Canada, Mexico and China.

In response, Mexico on Tuesday imposed tariffs on American products ranging from steel to pork and bourbon.

The trade body represents companies such as Diageo PLC DGe.L, Pernod Ricard SA (PERP.PA) and Brown-Forman Corp (BFb.N).

Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva

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