Kentucky Distillers' Association logo

KDA Statement on U.S.-U.K. Trade Announcement

March 4, 2021

For Immediate Release – March 4, 2021

FRANKFORT, Ky. – While todays’ action has no immediate impact on exports of Kentucky Bourbon, the Kentucky Distillers’ Association is encouraged that the United States and the United Kingdom have agreed to briefly suspend some tariffs involved in the long-running Boenig-Airbus dispute.

“This is a good first step and a hopeful signal that the administration is committed to resolving trade wars that have inflicted so much collateral damage on global markets, including Kentucky’s signature Bourbon industry and our broader American Whiskey family,” KDA President Eric Gregory said.

The KDA announced last week that tariffs imposed on U.S. spirits slashed Kentucky Bourbon exports by 35% in 2020, with shipments to the European Union plummeting by nearly 50%. Sales to the U.K., formerly Kentucky’s largest market in the EU, also have been decimated by 50%.

Today’s U.S.-U.K. announcement temporarily removes tariffs on Single Malt Scotch, Single Malt Irish Whiskey, liqueurs and cordials and certain wines originating from the U.K. The U.K. eliminated retaliatory tariffs on U.S. rum, brandy and vodka involved in this dispute in January. 

However, the U.K. and other E.U. countries continue to maintain tariffs on American Whiskey in response to the two-year trade war on steel and aluminum. “We strongly believe this dispute deserves similar priority in finding a resolution before more long-term damage is done,” Gregory said. 

“With a focused settlement to help the aerospace industry now underway, the KDA reiterates its call for an immediate suspension of disastrous tariffs in the steel and aluminum dispute that have ensnared unrelated American whiskey and key agricultural exports.”

Gregory said the KDA wholeheartedly agrees with the U.S.-U.K. statement today that noted a settlement in the aerospace dispute will benefit a wide range of industries on both sides of the Atlantic. 

“We look forward to a return to open trade with all industries involved as we seek to bring stability back to our Kentucky Bourbon and American Whiskey export markets during these challenging and unprecedented times.”


For more information, contact KDA President Gregory at [email protected].

Enjoy Like a True Kentuckian: Responsibly