Taxing situation | U.S. wine importers get tariff relief

By Jim Boyce | It’s been a tough two years for U.S. wine importers in China, caught in a trade war between the source of their product and the home of their customer, hit with a trio of extra tariffs that total 40%.

Those extra penalties mean the tariff on U.S. wines is 54% compared to 14% faced by most nations and 0% by China free trade partners like Australia and Chile .

When the sales and value-added taxes that everyone must pay are included–the calculation involves a formula that takes the tariff rate into account–U.S. wine importers are looking at 94%.

Whew. At least there was one break in 2020–a tariff relief program for select U.S. agricultural goods, including wine.

Under the program, U.S. wine importers can reduce their tariff rate by up to 25%–from 54% to 29%–by filling out some paperwork and applying through China’s Ministry of Finance.

Does it work? I talked to two people who successfully used the program and were understandably quite happy, although, even with this relief, they still face stiffer tariffs than those importing from elsewhere. And I also saw a few messages on WeChat from others who got this much-needed break. Now, hopefully the tariffs soon return to normal!

Check out my other posts on wine and the U.S.-China trade dispute:

Note: A version of this story first appeared in my Grape Wall newsletter. Get more info about / sign up for the newsletter here.

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