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French wine and spirits exporters worried about the American market

Par Vitisphere Le 17 février 2020
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French wine and spirits exporters worried about the American market
Antoine Leccia, chairman of the FEVS, has called for an emergency compensation fund to be introduced for companies that have fallen victim to the US tax hike. - crédit photo : Marion Sepeau Ivaldi

We are asking politicians to fight to abolish the American tax”. This was the message hammered home by the chairman of the French wine and spirits exporters’ federation FEVS, Antoine Leccia, on 12 February at Vinexpo Paris. In 2019, the United States represented a 19-million-case market for French wine, up 4.4%, worth 1.8 billion euros, up 10.3%. It is France's leading market by value, holding a share of nearly 20% of France’s total overseas shipments.

But while a cursory glance suggests these figures are positive, they in fact hide the fact that American imports of French wines clearly stalled following the 25% tax introduced by the Trump administration on October 18 and renewed on February 14. French shipments increased during the first three quarters of 2019 (rising 18.3% in the third quarter when businesses covered themselves in anticipation of the tax hike), but the last quarter of 2019 showed a 17.5% drop in value consignments.

In November and December, French imports were down by 100 million euros”, deplored Antoine Leccia. Worse still, if the American tax continues, a study commissioned by the FEVS from audit firm Finexsi estimates the loss for the wine industry at around 300 million euros for 2020. Since the introduction of the taxes, the FEVS has been demanding 300 million euros in emergency compensatory measures from the French government. The aid is slow in coming, though, because France feels that Europe should be footing the bill.


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