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Velázquez Says American Small Businesses Will Pay Price of Trump Wine Tariffs on Europe

Washington, January 17, 2020

Washington, D.C.— Today, House Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) and eight Committee Democrats sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer expressing concern over the Trump Administration’s decision to impose retaliatory tariffs on European wines, which they say will mainly hurt American small businesses.

In October, the Trump Administration imposed a 25% tariff on most European wine and recently threatened to increase the tariffs to 100% on all European wines. The U.S. is home to over 500 wine importers and distributors, 47,000 wine retailers, and over one million restaurants, most of which are small businesses. The current 25% tariff on certain European wines and spirits is projected to result in 12,000 American jobs lost. Additionally, the proposed tariffs of 100% on all European wines could result in prices that are unworkable for domestic businesses, causing the loss of 78,000 jobs.

“The U.S. beverage community, from farmers, to producers, distributors, and retailers are an essential part of our economy, generating over $363 billion annually, and we urge you not to target these firms in trade disputes which has nothing at all to do their products,” wrote the lawmakers. “We hope you will exhaust all means possible to resolve these issues without resorting to retaliatory tariffs that have an outsized impact on American small businesses.”

In addition to Velazquez, the letter was signed by: Rep. Dwight Evans (D-PA); Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN); Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA); Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ); Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY); Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-NY); Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX); and Rep. Bradley Schneider (D-IL).

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