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‘It’s not fair’ – Trump repeats French wine tariffs complaint

US president Trump has again raised the prospect of higher import tariffs on wines from the European Union, singling out an issue with French wine, in particular.

In a wide-ranging interview with business news channel CNBC, Trump said that ‘France charges us a lot for the wine, and yet we charge them very little’.

After saying that unnamed people in California had complained to him about this, he added, ‘You know what? It’s not fair. We’ll do something about it.’

His statement echoes a tweet in November on the same subject and aimed at French president Emmanuel Macron.

Tariffs would have to be applied at the EU level, rather than only on French wine.

Trump’s latest comments follow a US threat in April this year to place $11bn of tariffs on EU imports – including food and wine – in response to what the US deems to be unfair EU subsidies for the Airbus group.

The US and EU have been in a World Trade Organisation (WTO) dispute over Airbus subsidies for several years.

Several business analysts have suggested in recent weeks that tariffs can harm importers, who may need to absorb the extra cost.

The EU import tariff per 750ml bottle of US wine can range from $0.11 to 0.29, depending on the alcoholic content of the wine, according figures from the California-based Wine Institute.

By comparison, the US import tariff on a 750 ml bottle is $0.05 for still wine and $0.14 for sparkling wine.

However, some merchants have previously said that extra costs in the US three-tier distribution system need to be considered.

See also: California wineries determined to stay in China, despite tariffs

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