LONDON Feb 14 Pernod Ricard would
have to pass a proposed U.S. tax on imported goods onto
consumers, the chief executive of the French spirits group said
"Retailers are saying, and we're fully in line with them,
that the border adjustment tax is a consumer tax, a consumption
tax," Alexandre Ricard told reporters in London.
Ricard's comments come the same week that the chief
executives of some of America's largest retailers, including
Target Corp and Best Buy Co Inc head to
Washington to try to kill the tax.
"I don't think it's fair to the American consumer," Ricard
said of the proposal by Republican lawmakers to impose a 20
percent tax on imports.
The U.S. arm of the maker of Absolut vodka, Martell cognac
and Mumm champagne has joined "Americans for Affordable
Products", a group of over 100 businesses opposed to the tax.
The lobby group, launched earlier this month, includes other
distillers Diageo North America and LVMH, as
well as retailers including Walmart, Nike and
Walgreens Boots Alliance, according to its website.
Pernod's business relies largely on provenance-based drinks
whose production can not be moved, such as cognac and champagne,
which must both be made in France.
But for some products, like blended Scotch, there is
flexibility. For example, Ricard said it was possible to blend
Scotch in Scotland and ship it to the United States in bulk in
inert containers to be bottled locally.
He said such a move could be more efficient regardless of
any border tax, since shipping whisky in bulk is lighter than
shipping it in bottles.
"Maybe, it's something one could consider despite all of
that," Ricard told Reuters. "I would say it's something we
should do anyway for environmental reasons."
(Editing by Alexander Smith)