Wine tariffs could be going up

Updated: Jan. 14, 2020 at 9:57 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - You may have to start paying more for your favorite glass of white wine, thanks to potential tariffs that have importers seeing red.

It stems from two trade fights, starting in October of 2019.

The first comes from a World Trade Organization ruling that aircraft maker, Airbus, received subsidies from Europe at Boeing's expense, and a French tax on digital services that targets corporations like Google and Facebook pay their fair share for operating overseas.

The new tariffs would be added to the 25 percent tariff from October, but now includes mainly all European wine imports and other goods.

It’s caused some concern among importers and restaurants.

Sariya Jarasviroj Brown is the owner of Circo Vino, a wine importing company based in Tucson. Brown sells to Quench Fine Wines, who then turns around and sells to restaurants such as Feast, located at 3719 E. Speedway Blvd, and owned by Doug Levy.

Levy and Brown have been working together for more than a decade and have a close business relationship. He buys a big stock of Brown's Austrian wines, which she is a main distributor of.

Levy’s stock reaches from floor to ceiling and ranges from countries like France, Spain, and Austria. There’s hardly any space, but a new round of tariffs could make this wall sparse.

“To have to double the price of everything, all of our 780 bottles it’s a little bit daunting," said Levy.

For Brown, the tariffs would be too much to handle.

“There’s no way for a small company like mine or a company five times my size to absorb that cost without passing it on to our customers,” said Brown.

To break this down: Say a glass of wine costs $11. With the potential new tariffs, it will cost $22. And even if you don’t drink wine you’ll still see the effects.

There’s a long list of these affected that could entirely change the cost of your plate.

"Pasta, olive oil, cheese, cast iron kitchen wear, essential oils the list is very varied and quite long," said Brown.

Levy, being one of her main customers is already fearing the worst.

"This affects human beings.”

He’s concerned the rising cost will cut down his staff.

“I employ 48 people I don’t know if they’re going to have jobs by the end of the year if this happens. Everything necessarily becomes more expensive and then it becomes more expensive to eat out.”

Now they’re both left bracing for impact,

“Estimation that the damage to US businesses from the imposed tariffs would be close to $10 billion with a loss of 80 thousand jobs,” said Brown.

Leaders are weighing in on these new tariffs.

There are four legislators from Arizona on the Congressional Wine Caucus: Rep. Ann Kirkpatrik (AZ-2), Rep. Raul Grijalva (AZ-3), Rep. Paul Gosar (AZ-4), and Sen. Krysten Sinema.

Kirkpatrick and Grijalva signed the Caucus letter opposing the tariff that can be found HERE.

Brown said the most important thing all Arizonans can do is contact our representatives in Congress, senators, governor, and write directly to the Robert Lighthizer, United States Trade Representative. Even after the docket for public comments closes tonight, our legislators can still advise the president about how this will hurt American families.

Honorable Robert Lighthizer

United States Trade Representative

600 17th Street

Washington, DC 20508

There’s no estimated time limit for the tariffs to go into effect.

Copyright 2020 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.