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Wine Institute Urges Resolution to Escalating Trade Dispute

SAN FRANCISCO — Today’s announcement by China’s Ministry of Commerce that it may impose retaliatory tariffs on U.S. wine imports could have a significant negative impact on the future growth of wine exports to China. China is one of the fastest growing wine markets in the world and will soon be second only to the U.S. in value. U.S. wine exports to greater China (including China and Hong Kong) were up 10% in 2017 to $197 million. The value of U.S./California wine exports to China alone have increased 450 percent in the past decade.

“Chinese retaliation against U.S. wine would put our producers at a significant disadvantage in one of the most important markets in the world at a critical time,” said Robert P. “Bobby” Koch, CEO of Wine Institute. “As a result of free trade agreements, a number of our foreign competitors will soon have tariff free access to the Chinese market. This, combined with additional punitive tariffs on California wine, could result in lost market share for years to come.”

The United States is a member of the World Wine Trade Group (WWTG) and Wine Institute has long supported the WWTG position that wine should not be used as a retaliatory target in unrelated trade disputes. “It is incumbent upon all parties involved to resolve this dispute in a way that does not harm consumers or the hundreds of thousands of workers who rely on the wine industry for their livelihoods,” said Koch.

Wine Institute is the public advocacy association of 1,000 California wineries and affiliated businesses responsible for 85% of the wine produced in the U.S. and 97% of all U.S. wine exports. The California wine industry contributes $114 billion annually to the U.S. economy and employs 786,000 Americans nationwide.

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Wine Institute Communications Department