The ongoing trade wars between the U.S. and the EU have led to “colossal” losses, according to Bordeaux winemakers. Now, those winemakers want a bailout, to the tune of 300 million euros ($330m), The Times reports.
After a 46-percent drop in wine exports to the U.S., the world’s second-largest import market for its wines, the Bordeaux Interprofessional Wine Council (CIVB) has requested the French government step in to protect their livelihoods.
The Trump administration imposed 25 percent tariffs on numerous European imports last October, due to an Airbus-Boeing dispute. While an additional round of tariffs were put on hold in January, those currently in effect have already had widespread impact on both sides of the Atlantic.
Unlike American grain farmers affected by an unrelated trade war with China, wine importers and distributors in the U.S. have not received any subsidies to offset the losses caused by the increase in prices. As a result, they’re cutting costs by buying less wine from abroad.
“Every passing day brings a new drama,” Georges Haushalter, deputy chair of the Union of Bordeaux Wine Merchants, complained, noting that French containers are being delayed at the request of their American customers, who must pay the increased fees upon import.
Cédric Coubris, president of the Gironde Federation of Independent Winegrowers, estimates the economic fallout from these tariffs for French winemakers at 20 million euros ($22m) in the past two months alone.
The French government has responded to the CIVB’s request with a proposal for a Europe-wide fund, but that’s not good enough for Bordeaux winemakers, who want a guarantee that they will be specifically taken care of.
“It will be long, costly, and difficult to get back our place,” Haushalter said. “In six months, we will be dead.”