What impact could trading tariffs have on UK pubs, brewers and distillers?

By Stuart Stone

- Last updated on GMT

Fears for future: trade tariffs are 'not likely to help hospitality businesses'
Fears for future: trade tariffs are 'not likely to help hospitality businesses'
The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) and UKHospitality (UKH) have reacted to talk of international trade tariffs.

US President Donald Trump announced tariffs on steel and aluminium from Canada, Mexico and the European Union on 31 May, provoking talk of the EU taking similar measures and suggestions of a trade war.

As reported on inews.co.uk, the US commerce secretary confirmed EU companies would be subject to a 25% duty on steel and 10% on aluminium. President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Junker said the EU would retaliate with tariffs on US goods.

In March, the EU published a 10-page list​ of United States-made goods that were among potential targets for retaliatory tariffs.

With US alcohol brands such as Jim Beam and Jack Daniel’s featured, as well as a range of non-alcoholic drinks, the hospitality industry in the UK has given its thoughts on the potential fallout from both EU and US-imposed tariffs.

UKH chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Additional tariffs on imported products and the associated cost increases are not likely to help hospitality businesses.

“UKHospitality has strongly opposed any tariffs on food and drink as part of our Brexit representations and we equally oppose tariffs with other countries, and hope to see further liberalisation of trade rather than protectionist action.

“Any potential gap in the market may present UK-based distillers and producers with an opportunity to innovate, but any knock-on benefit for venues is far from certain.

“If pubs, bars and nightclubs are to continue thriving and growing, then ideally we need to see tariff-free trade that avoids an increase in costs.”

BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: "We are concerned with trade tariffs on goods such as aluminium, which is widely used in the beer industry, particularly in beer cans.

“Trade wars and protectionism are rarely good for businesses in any country affected.

“Britain’s pubs and brewers will not want to see anything which could put up prices to consumers or reduce the amount customers might have to spend in their pubs."

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