WASHINGTON – The Wine Origins Alliance, a global coalition of 32 wine and grape-growing organizations, called on President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to promote wine exports by removing barriers to trade. In a memo congratulating the two on their victory, the Alliance detailed several ongoing trade issues that the incoming administration will face, including harmful tariffs on the wine industry and the lack of effective name protection for wine regions.
Recently, retaliatory tariffs on wine have been proposed or levied in response to unrelated trade issues such as the World Trade Organization’s aircraft subsidy dispute, Digital Services Taxes in Europe and ongoing trade tensions with China. The Wine Origins Alliance encouraged the incoming administration to limit tariffs in these disputes to the relevant products and seek a swift resolution in order to protect American businesses and consumers at an already difficult and uncertain time.
“As the Biden Administration enters office, the U.S. wine industry faces a dire situation,” writes the Alliance. “Extending or increasing tariffs on wine would only compound the catastrophic economic pain that winemakers and consumers are facing due to COVID-19, devastating wildfires and the tariffs currently in effect.”
In addition to urging a swift resolution to trade disputes, the Wine Origins Alliance also called on the incoming administration to take action to protect wine place names. In 2018, a consumer survey found that 94 percent of American wine drinkers support laws that would protect consumers from misleading wine labels. Truth in wine labeling would protect the integrity of international wine place names and ensure that the wines consumers purchase are in fact from the region they expect.
“The American wine industry is strong today because it is built on distinctive regional names, and wine consumers around the world have come to expect truthful and accurate labels when it comes to the origin of our products,” the Alliance writes. “The Biden Administration can effectively support increased exports of U.S. wines from U.S. winegrowing regions by supporting the protection of winegrowing place names worldwide.”
The Wine Origins Alliance represents nearly 90,000 wineries and grape growers that have generated nearly one million jobs and more than $8 billion in global wine exports. Since its inception in 2005, the Alliance has worked with policymakers in the U.S. and around the world to address barriers to trade in wine.
To read the full memo, click here.