Connect with us

Business

US whiskey makers sidestep massive tariff hike in EU talks

Published

on

US whiskey makers sidestep massive tariff hike in EU talks

Whiskey makers in the United States are poised to sidestep a crippling tariff hike that would have doubled duties on their exports to the European Union to a whopping 50 percent.

On Monday, the European Union said it will “temporarily suspend” the increase — which would have doubled the already stiff rate of 25 percent — as it negotiates a resolution to a two-year-old dispute with the US over metal tariffs.

US whiskey makers became collateral damage in 2018 when former President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum from Europe and Asia. The EU retaliated with 25 percent tariffs on US whiskey and Harley Davidson motorcycles. The EU tariffs on booze, which previously hadn’t existed, had been set to increase to 50 percent on June 1.

Bourbon and whiskey brands including Jim Beam, Jack Daniels and Makers Mark along with smaller craft distillers have seen their sales shrink abroad as European distributors and retailers have been reluctant to pay such hefty tariffs.  

“Distillers across the United States are breathing a huge sigh of relief after bracing for a 50 percent tariff on American Whiskeys in just a matter of days that would have forced many craft distillers out of the EU market,” Chris Swonger, chief executive of the Distilled Spirits Council said in a Monday statement.

“We recognize there is still work to be done to get EU and US spirits back to zero for zero tariffs,” Swonger added. “We greatly appreciate the Biden administration’s ongoing efforts to resolve these longstanding trade disputes and reduce the economic pain felt by those industries unfairly caught in the middle.”

US whiskey exports to Europe had been on the rise before the tariffs went into effect, up 28 percent for the first six months of 2018, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. Since then, however, US whiskey exports have fallen by 37 percent to Europe and 53 percent to the UK, the trade group said in March.

Bourbon got targeted by EU officials partly because its birthplace is in Kentucky, which is also the home state of noted Trump ally Sen. Mitch McConnell, experts said. US Trade Representative Katherine Tai and European Commission executive vice president Valdis Dombrovskis began negotiating last week to reach a compromise.

On Monday, they issued a joint statement saying they had “committed to engaging in these discussions expeditiously to find solutions before the end of the year that will demonstrate how the US and EU can address excess capacity, ensure the long-term viability of our steel and aluminum industries, and strengthen our democratic alliance.”

President Biden will be in Brussels in June for his first foreign trip as president to attend the US-EU summit.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Business

Australia to fine tech giants, jail users over abusive posts

Published

on

Australia to fine tech giants, jail users over abusive posts

Tech giants like Facebook, Twitter and Google will be forced to swiftly remove abusive online posts or face stiff fines under a tough new law passed by the Australian government on Wednesday. 

The bold new legislation, called the Online Safety Bill, gives the country’s regulators the power to crack down on violent threats, revenge porn and other abusive posts on the internet. Users who create such posts face up to five years in prison. Tech platforms that do not remove them within 24 hours will be fined up to $415,000.

Australia’s government developed the 192-page bill in response to the 2019 mass shooting at a mosque in New Zealand, in which a white supremacist gunman killed 51 worshippers while live-streaming the murders on Facebook.

The Australian center-right government’s communications minister Paul Fletcher said the new law enables the country to “crack down on cyber-bullying of children, toxic online abuse, harmful content and the non-consensual sharing of intimate images.” Enforcement of the new law will begin in six months, he said.

A Twitter spokesperson told The Post that the company plans to comply with the law. 

“Twitter shares the Australian government’s strong commitment to online safety, and we make ongoing investments in this area to keep our users safe,” the spokesperson said. “Currently, our teams are reviewing the final version of the legislation and will be working closely with the government and eSafety Commissioner in the coming months as this law is implemented in Australia.” 

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

In a February statement, Facebook’s Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Islands public policy director Mia Garlick said the company broadly supported additional privacy regulation but said the bill’s breadth could lead to regulatory overreach and stifle political speech. 

Opponents including Australia’s Green Party have slammed the bill, arguing that it was pushed too quickly without debate. Online civil liberties group Electronic Frontiers Australia said that the bill gave far too much authority to the nation’s eSafety Commissioner.

“It is disturbing that the government plans to hand a large amount of largely unchecked power to a single person,” Electronic Frontiers Australia board member Justin Warren told Australian news site InnovationAus.

“The hasty drafting of the legislation has removed a variety of oversight mechanisms and safeguards that already exist, while extending Australia’s outdated censorship regime to cover private, person-to-person messages,” Warren added.

Continue Reading

Business

NY to co-lead antitrust suit against Google over app store: report

Published

on

NY to co-lead antitrust suit against Google over app store: report

New York plans to co-lead a multi-state antitrust lawsuit against Google over the tech giant’s management of its mobile app store, according to a report.

The anticipated suit centers Google’s requirement that many Android app developers who sell products through the company’s store use Google payment tools and pay fees of up to 30 percent, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

New York Attorney General Letitia James will reportedly co-lead the suit alongside the attorneys general of Tennessee, Utah and North Carolina. Other states may also join. 

A spokesperson for the New York attorney general’s office declined to comment.

“Android is the only major operating system that allows people to download apps from multiple app stores. In fact, most Android devices ship with two or more app stores preinstalled,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement. “This openness means that if developers choose not to distribute their apps on Google Play, they can still distribute their apps on the Android platform — and many do.”

The attorney generals’ gripes with Google echo Fortnite developer Epic Games’ high-profile suit against Apple over similar app store fees, which is expected to be decided in the coming weeks. 

The attorney generals’ suit against Google will reportedly be filed in the Northern District of California — the same federal court that is overseeing Epic v. Apple. 

In addition to suing Apple, Epic Games also filed a suit against Google last year, accusing it of having anticompetitive app store rules. The suit is expected to go to trial in 2022.

There also are two proposed class-action lawsuits over Google’s app store before the same Northern California judge. If New York and the other states co-leading the upcoming suit want to participate in depositions and other pre-trial activities in those suits, they would have to file soon, a source told Reuters. 

The news comes as Google faces new regulatory heat this week in Europe. On Tuesday, the European Union opened a formal antitrust probe into Google’s lucrative advertising business, which brings in about 80 percent of the company’s revenue. 

With Post Wires 

Continue Reading

Business

Sweetgreen salad chain files for IPO

Published

on

Sweetgreen salad chain files for IPO

Salad chain sweetgreen said on Monday it had confidentially filed for an initial public offering in the US, hopeful of strong investor interest as demand for plant-based food products surges globally.

The company, which counts tennis star Naomi Osaka as its youngest investor, was valued at $1.8 billion after a funding round earlier this year, according to media reports. T.Rowe Price, Lone Pine Capital and D1 Capital Partners are among sweetgreen’s other investors.

California-based sweetgreen, which was founded in 2007 and has more than 100 stores in the US, did not reveal more details about the size of the proposed IPO.

Plant-based food companies have attracted investor attention over the past few years, particularly as more people gravitate to healthy and environment-friendly food.

Much of the demand is being led by millennials and generation Z consumers, who are more than willing to spend on sustainable products that are also healthy.

About 65 percent of Gen Z consumers are in favor of plant-based foods, sweetgreen says on its website.

Last year, plant-based retail sales in the US hit $7 billion, up 27 percent year-on-year, according to a report by the Good Food Institute and the Plant-Based Foods Association.

Swedish oatmilk maker Oatly Group AB, which went public last month, closed nearly 53 percent above its IPO price on Friday. Plant-based burger maker Beyond Meat was also up 16 percent this year.

Sweetgreen is home to such options as the Kale Caasar, Peach Burrata, and Harvest Bowl Houson, and Cashew Pesto Sweet Potato. The chain is the brainchild of three college students looking for healthier diet options.

Continue Reading

Trending