***LAST DAY FOR FRENCH SPARKLING WINE PUBLIC COMMENTS IN DST DISPUTE***

Please take a minute today to submit a comment to the US Trade Representative regarding the 100% tariffs which they are threatening to apply to sparkling wines from France. France has enacted a 3% tax on all large digital companies. This tax will affect 30 American companies including Amazon, Google, and Facebook. In retaliation, the US government is planning to put a 100% tariff (!!!) based on the value of on a wide range of products imported from France that have NOTHING to do with this dispute. Among them are French sparkling wines, champagnes, and cheeses. The complex supply chain for these products creates thousands of American jobs, including port workers, truckers, warehouse workers, importers, distributors, retailers, and restaurants. An estimated 17,000 American jobs will be lost if this tariff is enacted.

 I am personally on a train on my way to Washington DC to testify in a hearing against these tariffs tomorrow. Today is the last day to submit public comments against these unfair tariffs.

Please take just one minute of your day and click here to voice your opposition:

https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=USTR-2019-0009-0038

Feel free to copy and paste the below text. Thank you in advance!!!

Michelle DeFeo

President, Laurent-Perrier US, and Certified Sommelier

I am writing to ask you to consider removing HTS code 2204.10.00 from the USTR section 301 dispute involving France’s DST.

French sparkling wines imported into the US represent $2 billion in value to the US economy. Over two-thirds of this amount is generated by American companies who employ thousands of people along the imported wine supply chain, including port workers, truckers, warehouse workers, importers, distributors, retailers, and restaurants.

The highly competitive and fragmented nature of this business means lots of jobs, but small margins. The current tariff on this category is under 15 cents per bottle – but the proposed tariffs will mean an average of $26.70 per bottle. French producers – the people you are trying to hurt with these tariffs – will not be able to absorb this huge increase. It will need to be passed on to American companies and consumers, resulting in an unfair tax. If prices rise by these amounts, demand will decrease, and along with lost sales will come lost jobs in every state in the country.

Please remove this category from this dispute, as well as from the corresponding Airbus dispute. It punishes Americans consumers and small businesses disproportionately, and will not help achieve your desired results.

Thank you for your consideration.

  • Note - the USTR is mostly interested in knowing about the negative economic impact of these tariffs. Focusing on why champagne is irreplaceable is the obvious retort but it's a dangerous one, because the USTR could then assume that people will buy it regardless of the cost, which is not true. While champagne may be more inelastic vs other categories, meaning some people will still buy it even though prices rise, there are limits, and the proposed tariffs go way beyond those limits. If you have any insight as to what the limit of wine BTG pricing is in your restaurant, that could be very useful to add. Merci! 

  • Thanks for posting! Yes, everybody please let your voices be heard!

  • Best of luck tomorrow! Thank you.

  • The website seems to be bugged - is it just me? 

    It won't allow me to send the message, claiming that the comment box is empty - anybody else is experiencing this? 

  • Try this link instead: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=USTR-2019-0009-0038

    If that doesn't work, try going to regulations.gov and typing or pasting in USTR-2019-0009-0038, then click "Comment Now" on the right. 

  • Thanks for the support! Definitely a little nervous about testifying, but we all have to do all we can to beat this. Cheers!

  • I have submitted my letters stating my opposition of tariffs as a political weapon and the potential collateral damages. At the end of the day, I do not want anyone to lose their job, lose their business or pay a 100% increase on their favorite bottle of wine. Best of luck in testifying and thank you--

  • How was your experience? Do you have a sense on whether they will budge on the tariffs?

  • Thanks for asking! It was a wonderful experience to be surrounded by a couple dozen people in the wine business - importers, distributors, and retailers - of varying sizes, all coming together to try and fight off this gross injustice. The committee was very engaged with most of those who testified, but it was impossible to know if that was just out of politeness or if any of us actually said something that made a difference. But at the end of the day, even if the tariffs still hit, at least I'll know that I made every effort to stop them. There's an active Facebook group you may want to check out that is full of interesting info and chatter about both open tariff cases:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/1217301115324763/?fref=nf

  • Thank you for testifying. JanisRobinson.com has posted an article, written by Alder Yarrow, describing the hearings. This resonated with me: I wasn’t in the room for the hearings, but after speaking to those who were, and after reading the transcript of two days’ testimony, while I found myself no less worried about the prospects of such tariffs, I was also brimming with a combination of gratitude and heart-warming pride. In a small, windowless corner of a big government building, under the threat of a winter storm, a small slice of what makes the wine world great stood up last week and showed the government Goliath what it was made of.