Trade beef over meat could put a cork in California wine exports
(BizJournals) - A claim by the World Trade Organization that the United States is violating rules on meat exports could end up costing California's wine industry hundreds of millions of dollars, according to a statement Monday by a powerful trade group.
The WTO announcement "could pave the way for Canada and Mexico to immediately seek billions of dollars' worth of retaliatory tariffs against U.S. products, including wine," the San Francisco-based Wine Institutesaid. Such retaliation "would do hundreds of millions of dollars in damage to U.S. wine exports," said Robert Koch, president and CEO of the wine group, which represents about 1,000 California wineries and affiliated businesses.
Canada and Mexico are preparing to fire back, and our northern neighbor has already said it will seek permission from the World Trade Organization to "use retaliatory measures on U.S. agricultural and non-agricultural products," a Canadian trade minister said in a statement quoted by Reuters.
California typically accounts for about 90 percent of U.S. wine exports, the group contends. And Golden State wineries send more than $500 million of wine to Canada and Mexico alone each year, with Canada representing the single biggest export market for U.S. vintners.