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Make America whine again: Trump threatens French wine with tariffs

US President Donald Trump has once again accused France of creating trade barriers to US wine exports. He promised that he would work to open the European market to ‘great’ American wine.

“France charges us a lot for the wine. And yet we charge them very little for French wine,” Trump told CNBC during an interview. He said that California winemakers have complained to him about the EU tariffs.

“So the wineries come to me and say ’Sir, we’re paying a lot of money to put our product into France, and you’re letting’—meaning, this country is allowing—‘these French wines, which are great wines, but we have great wines too — allowing it to come in for nothing. It’s not fair,’” said Trump.

He continued: “And you know what? It’s not fair. We’ll do something about it.”

The US president targeted French wine last year when he tweeted that France makes it hard for the United States to sell wine in the country.

“On Trade, France makes excellent wine, but so does the US. The problem is that France makes it very hard for the US to sell its wines into France, and charges big Tariffs, whereas the US makes it easy for French wines, and charges very small Tariffs. Not fair, must change!” Trump wrote.

However, France is part of the 28-member European Union and does not set its own trade policy or tariffs. EU tariffs for imported wine are higher than those implemented by the United States. According to advocacy group Wine Institute, they range from 11 cents to 29 cents, depending on the alcohol content. US tariffs on imported French wine are 5 cents per 750-milliliter bottle and 14 cents for sparkling wine.

The United States is the most valuable market for French wine exports which, according to statistics, grew 4.6 percent last year to $3.6 billion (€3.2 billion).

French customs figures showed that US exports to France tripled between 2007 and 2018. Europe was by far the largest export destination for American wines.