Kentucky's bourbon and whiskey are being targeted in Trump's trade war, as the state's senator, Mitch McConnell, stands by and says nothing.
Red states are taking economic hits from Trump's reckless trade war. Now Kentucky's billion-dollar spirit industry is bracing for the worst.
"Last week the European Union imposed a 25 percent duty on all U.S. whiskey products, part of $3.8 billion in tariffs on American goods," The Hill reports. "That came after Mexico’s slapped on a similar tariff for American whiskey exports, which amounted to $13.4 million last year."
Kentucky's distilled spirits industry supports nearly 31,000 jobs and exports more than $452 million in goods, according to Kentucky Distillers' Association.
The group's president fears not only will bourbon manufacturers be hit by a tariff-induced slowdown, but there will be a cascading economic effect throughout the state.
"An extended trade war would not only harm our iconic industry, but also Kentucky’s farm families, cooperages, glass and other suppliers, hospitality and tourism partners, and ultimately, our loyal consumers through higher prices and limited availability," says Eric Gregory.
Meanwhile, Kentucky's senior Republican senator, Mitch McConnell, remains AWOL in the fight to protect his home state. When a handful of angry Republican senators tried to pass legislation to limit Trump's ability to impose reckless tariffs, McConnell demurred.
"Bourbon is our legacy. Kentucky needs you to protect it," the state's largest newspaper recently declared, demanding that McConnell take action.
The problem is that Trump’s reckless trade war with longtime trade allies in the European Union prompted swift retaliation, spiking prices for a huge array of products. And now states that voted for Trump are paying a big price.
Just this week, Wisconsin-based Harley-Davidson announced it was moving some motorcycle production overseas in response to the massive tariffs its bikes are facing because of Trump's trade war. Trump is furious because the move makes him look like a fool after he repeatedly touted Harley-Davidson's success and assured critics his trade war would not mean lost U.S. jobs.
Over in Missouri, the country's largest nail manufacturer, Mid-Continent Nail, located in a county that voted 79 percent for Trump, recently announced that it is shedding hundreds of jobs and will likely have to shut down by Labor Day.
The company, which produces half the nails manufactured in the U.S., uses imported material to produce the carpentry nails, and since Trump slapped a 25 percent tariff on steel and aluminum imports, the company has had to boost its prices. That caused sales to immediately plummeted.
It appears Trump had no idea what the ramifications would be to his short-sighted trade war, or that the people who voted for him would bear such a big burden.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.