USDA Progam Awards $1,215,000 to DISCUS To Combat Retaliatory Tariffs

The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) was awarded an additional $400,000 through USDA’s Agricultural Trade Program (ATP), which was set up specifically to assist those agricultural groups that are being adversely impacted by retaliatory tariffs.  This brings the total amount awarded to DISCUS to $1,215,000 since January 2019.

“We appreciate USDA’s recognition that the negative impacts of the retaliatory tariffs on U.S. spirits are accelerating and severely threatening what has been a great American trade success story,” said Distilled Spirits Council President & CEO Chris Swonger, noting that since the imposition of the EU’s 25 percent retaliatory tariffs on American Whiskey over a year ago, American Whiskey exports to the EU have declined 19 percent. 

DISCUS was one of 48 recipients that applied for $200 million in ATP funds in 2018 that were awarded earlier this year. As part of a new round of support for farmers impacted by unjustified retaliation and trade disruption, recipients had an opportunity to be considered for additional support for their work to boost exports for U.S. agriculture, food, fish, and forestry products. 

DISCUS will utilize the ATP funds to conduct export promotion initiatives, such as market research, media campaigns and in-market promotions in key export markets. 

Since 2006, DISCUS has sponsored spirits promotions in 18 foreign markets through USDA’s Market Access Program (MAP).  This collaboration has contributed to a huge increase in global U.S. spirits exports, rising from $873 million in 2006 to $1.8 billion in 2018. 

These foreign promotions have been especially beneficial for small craft distillers who are seeking to sell their spirits products internationally.  Many of these participating craft distillers have invested great time and resources to enter foreign markets and have been hit particularly hard by the retaliatory tariffs.

DISCUS has created two new dedicated positions to run the association’s MAP and ATP programs.   Charles McEntee, Manager of Export Promotions, and Lily Cunniff, Coordinator, International Trade and Export Promotions, will be responsible for administering the programs, organizing American spirits export promotions and assisting craft distiller members with their participation in these international marketing events.

“While this funding will help mitigate some of the negative impacts of the retaliatory tariffs,  we continue to urge U.S. policy makers and our trade partners to bring an end to these burdensome tariffs,” Swonger concluded.


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