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Lyon welcomes Beaujolais Nouveau under shadow of U.S. tariffs

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on November 21, 2019 - Duration: 02:00s

Lyon welcomes Beaujolais Nouveau under shadow of U.S. tariffs

The city of Lyon celebrated "Beaujolais Nouveau" Day on Thursday, the annual tradition of uncorking the world-renowned wine, a month after the Trump administration put 25% tariffs on French winemakers.

Ciara Lee reports.

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Lyon welcomes Beaujolais Nouveau under shadow of U.S. tariffs

The annual uncorking of the world-renowned Beaujolais Nouveau But new tariffs from the U.S on French winemakers left something of a sour taste for producers gathered in the city of Lyon.

(SOUNDBITE) (French) WINEMAKER, JEAN-BAPTISTE DUPERRAY, SAYING: "It is for the coming years that we are worried, because the tax arrived suddenly, so, this is a very substantial tax that can't necessarily be passed on to the consumer in the U.S." The annual tradition came a month after the Trump administration slapped a 25% tariff on French winemakers.

Leaving many looking for ways to keep a presence in the American market (SOUNDBITE) (French) WINEMAKER, AYMERIC MELINAND, SAYING: "We must not lose our image in the U.S., we need to try and maintain it and I think the best thing to do is to go there, meet the potential consumer and to have a talk with them and say that we are here." The U.S. imported over 13,000 hectolitres of Beaujolais in 2018 - 15 percent of the young wine's exports.

The Vice President of the Inter Beaujolais Association, David Ratignier, told Reuters that the longer term impact on the wine remains unknown.

(SOUNDBITE) (French) VICE PRESIDENT OF THE INTER BEAUJOLAIS ASSOCIATION, DAVID RATIGNIER, SAYING: "We have designations, like the Beaujolais Village that have a huge presence in the United States, in significant quantities and if these taxes have a real impact on our markets in the US, or penalise us financially, we could lose some business." The tariffs also impact Scotch whisky, cheese and olives from across continental Europe - a punishment greenlit by the WTO for aircraft subsidies it deems illegal.

European-made Airbus planes have been hit with a 10 percent tax.

In total, the tariffs affect more than 7 billion dollars worth of EU goods.

Asked why Beaujolais Nouveau was not impacted by the tax so far Ratignier said U.S. dealers and merchants had decided to absorb the higher tariff themselves so consumers can buy a bottle at an unchanged price - usually between $10 and $15.

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