• Champagne and Merlot could be going up in price after US President Donald Trump hinted he might raise tariffs on French wines.
  • "It's not fair," Trump said, referring to higher EU tariffs on US wines than vice versa. "We'll do something about it."
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Champagne and Merlot in the US could be going up in price after President Trump hinted he might raise tariffs on French wines.

"France charges us a lot for the wine," Trump said in a CNBC interview on Monday. "And yet we charge them very little for French wine."

"You know what? It's not fair. We'll do something about it," he added.

The EU levies tariffs of 11 to 29 US cents (R4.30) on a standard 750 milliliter bottle of US wine, while the US charges 5 cents (75 SA cents)  to import the same volume of still wine and 14 cents for sparkling wine, according to the Wine Institute, which represents the interests of California winemakers.

As America is the biggest market for EU wines, US tariffs could have a significant impact on European vineyards. The US accounted for nearly a third of all imports of EU wines in 2017, while US wines only made up 16% of wines imported to the EU, according to Eurostat.

Trump's comments followed a tweet along the same lines in November:

"France makes excellent wine, but so does the US. The problem is that France makes it very hard for the US to sell its wines into France, and charges big Tariffs, whereas the US makes it easy for French wines, and charges very small Tariffs. Not fair, must change!"

Trump's latest tariff threat follows his decision to scrap planned tariffs on all Mexican imports, and his threat to expand tariffs to virtually all Chinese goods if Chinese President Xi Jinping fails to meet him at the G-20 summit in Japan at the end of the month.

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