The following is a translation and adaptation into English* of an original article in Portuguese by Sérgio Aníbal in the Público at 13:50 on 9 April 2019 . Permission obtained from the author.

Original article here

New Trump taxes threaten Portuguese wine

Aeroplanes, cheeses, olive oil and wine are all likely targets of possible US tariff increases. That is bad news for Portugal.

The threat of increasing customs duties made last night by the United States to the European Union could affect Portuguese wine export performance. In 2018, the United States was its second most important market, representing over 10% of wine exported.

In a retaliatory move, the United States is threatening to increase import tariffs, following the World Trade Organisation (WTO) arbitration ruling against the European Union’s public aid given to Airbus that it claims was in breach of international trade rules. The US intends to increase customs duties on a range of products imported by the USA from the EU, to a total value of USD 11 billion. Goods affected relate to the aerospace industry, such as aircraft, helicopters and components, but also includes food products such as wine, olive oil and cheese.

Higher customs duties on Portuguese wines could have a significant impact on the sector. According to the National Statistics Institute (INE) Portuguese wine exports to the US in 2018 amounted to EUR 80.8 million, some 10.1% of the total. This figure made the US the second most important market after France for Portuguese wine exporters

The USA has been an important growth market in recent years for the Portuguese wine sector, with significant earnings recorded.

Bottling plant for premium quality Portuguese wine destined for export

All Portuguese exports to the USA in 2018 totalled close to EUR 2.9 billion, or 5% of the value of all products exported from the EU, of which Portuguese wine constituted a mere 2.8%. Other products that feature more significantly, such as refined fuels, wood, cement and textiles have not been targeted for a US customs duty increase, for the time being, at least.

On the list released by the White House, there are also other goods, which if subjected to an increase in import tariffs, could affect specific Portuguese industries. Aircraft exports to the United States earned Portugal EUR 749 million in 2018, slightly less than wine, but a substantial chunk nevertheless, representing 24.1% of total foreign sales of this type of product during the past year.

As for olive oil, Portuguese sales to the USA last year amounted to EUR 6.7 million, or 1.2% of all exports of the product, while cheese earned EUR 2.7 million, some 7.1% of Portugal’s total cheese exports.

Translation/adaptation ©2019 Allison Wright.
*An adaptation is a translation which has been adapted for the target language readership.

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