BORDEAUX, France (Reuters) - A U.S. move to impose 25% duties on their wares has brought little cheer to the wine barons of Bordeaux, who fear a possible hit to their business at a time of other problems.
U.S. President Donald Trump announced the tariffs on a range of European foodstuffs as part of Washington’s response to EU aircraft subsidies.
The higher tariffs would immediately raise prices by $5-$10 per bottle. Exporters may need to cut prices in order to avoid losing market share, which in turn may threaten producers, the French wine exporters’ federation FEVS said.
“Bordeaux is going through a difficult time at the moment,” said Juliette Becot, who runs the Chateau Beau-Sejour Becot label in the region.
She said the U.S. tariffs had come at a particularly tricky moment, with the Bordeaux wine region having suffered from adverse weather conditions this year that hit production.
French wine exports to the United States totaled $1 billion in 2018, or about 20% of total exports. Bordeaux wines accounted for more than a fourth of those exports, followed closely by those of Bourgogne and Beaujolais origins.
Champagne is not included in the extra duties list.
Becot and Pascal Amoreau, who helps run the Chateau Le Puy label, hoped that the world-class reputation of French wine would be sufficiently strong to ensure that U.S. consumers would continue to buy the country’s products.
Nevertheless, Amoreau regretted Trump’s move.
“It’s sad to see that a president will deprive his fellow citizens of a large part of our French wine, just because of a little altercation or a little commercial war,” said Amoreau.
Reporting by Regis Duvignau; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta/Marc Detemple