U.S. whiskey producers are having a hard time thanks to a trade war born out of President Donald Trump’s tariffs on China and Europe. Things are looking pretty dandy for whiskey drinkers in Europe, though. The European Union and Japan just signed a trade deal that eliminates tariffs on nearly all trade, and that includes Japanese whisky.
Demand for Japanese whisky is at a high point. That’s led to a shortage and increased prices, and Suntory, the maker of brands like Yamazaki and Hibiki, has even discontinued some popular bottles. In short, there’s not much to go around. Prices are going to decrease in Europe thanks to the new deal, as is the price of around 99 percent of Japanese goods that won’t have a tariff as soon as the deal is officially ratified.
“Let me say that today is a good day not only for all the Japanese and Europeans, but for all the reasonable people of this world who believe in mutual respect and cooperation,” EU leader Donald Tusk said. “This is an act of enormous strategic importance for the rules-based international order, at a time when some are questioning this order.”
Trade between the U.S. and Japan hasn’t been quite as tense as trade between the U.S. and China or the U.S. and Europe. That might change if Trump follows through on a threat to increase the tariff on imported Japanese cars by more than 20 percent. Whiskey was caught in the crossfire when Trump put similar tariffs on China and Europe, and the same might happen with Japan. It seems like a good time to be a drinker of Japanese whisky in Europe, though.