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Donald Trump Mulls Tariffs on French Wine, Claims Two Countries’ Wine Trade "Unfair"

© Pixabay/CC0Glass of red wine, bottle
Glass of red wine, bottle - Sputnik International
Trump complained about France charging tariffs on US wine in the past, tweeting in November that it’s too hard for American wine producers to sell in France but the US makes it “easy” to import French wines.

US President Donald Trump has vowed to do “something” about the unfair, as he described it, situation with French wine that is imported into the US virtually tariff-free while France imposes duties on US wine, writes Time.

“France charges us a lot for the wine. And yet we charge them very little for French wine,” Trump said in an interview with CNBC anchors on Monday after last week’s Normandy trip.

“So the wineries come to me and say, ’Sir’ — the California guys, they come, ’Sir, we’re paying a lot of money to put our product into France, and you’re letting’ — meaning, this country is allowing — ‘these French wines, which are great wines, but we have great wines too — allowing it to come in for nothing. It’s not fair.”’

"And you know what?” Trump added. “It’s not fair. We’ll do something about it.”

​The teetotal US President has complained about France charging tariffs on US wine in the past, tweeting in November that it’s too hard for American wine producers to sell in France but that the US makes it “easy” to import French wines, which he said “must change.”

The US charges a tariff of 5 cents per 750 milliliter bottle of imported still wine and 14 cents for sparkling wine, according to the Wine Institute, an advocacy group for California winemakers, cited by Bloomberg.

European Union tariffs for imported wine range from 11 cents to 29 cents per bottle, according to the group.

“High tariff rates constitute the single most restrictive barrier to US wine exports,” the group says on its website.

​According to Bloomberg, the US is currently “the biggest client for EU wine producers,” purchasing almost a third of the bloc’s exports in 2017.

On the other hand, the US accounts for just 16 percent of the EU‘s wine imports.

Last fall, in a Twitter outburst against French president Emmanuel Macron, Trump, who owns Trump Winery, a Charlottesville vineyard run by Eric Trump, claimed that wine in the US is just as good as the beverage made in France.

Twitter reactions to the possible hint at a new US trade war target were not long in coming, with some noting the tariffs would have to be applied to the EU bloc, while others mocked the very idea.

Some drew parallels with the untimely demise of the so-called “friendship” tree planted by French President Emmanuel Macron and US President Donald Trump as a token of the friendship between their two countries during Macron’s state visit to the US in April last year.

​Any potential US measure targeting French wine would in fact have to target the EU, though, as the bloc is a common trade area. 

Lionel Briand, communications chief for the French Customs office, previously told The Associated Press that the US gets charged the same tariffs imposed on all non-EU countries. “American products are not submitted to a distinct duty but to the same duties as all third countries,” Briand said.

The EU exported 11.3 billion euros of wine in 2017 to third countries, 32 percent of which was to the US.

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