Sen. McConnell concerned tariffs could hurt Kentucky bourbon industry
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The threat of United States tariffs on steel and aluminum from the European Union, Canada and Mexico have become a reality. And those governments are pushing back working on tariffs of their own.
The Kentucky Bourbon industry was among those caught in the middle of a possible looming trade war on a day meant for celebration.
"The future of Kentucky Bourbon is brighter than ever," Eric Gregory, the President of the Kentucky Distillers' Association, said at an event Friday.
Bourbon leaders and politicians joined together to applaud the passage of House Bill 400, which happened during the most recent legislative session.
"Imagine the fact that you used to be able to come here, tour here and fall in love with a product and not be able to buy it and ship it home," Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin said. "Crazy. Crazy."
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The law, ceremonially signed by Governor Bevin at the event, allows people to ship bourbon to their homes when visiting distilleries in the state. It's something Bevin said will benefit the already $8.5 billion industry, which he adds still has room to grow globally.
"The appetite for bourbon in the world is not going down," Bevin said.
But Friday, a looming trade war that could change world consumption was not to be discussed.
"Any questions about House Bill 400 or anything," Gregory said. "We won't be talking about tariffs today. Sorry, we're here to talk about shipping."
Several world leaders have now taken steps to retaliate against steel and aluminum tariffs placed on the European Union, Canada and Mexico by the Trump administration, targeting bourbon and other Kentucky industries.
"I don't think anything good will come out of a trade war," U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said. "I hope we pull back from the brink here."
Speaking at a Greater Louisville Inc. event McConnell said there's not much he can do but lobby the president to move away from tariffs, which he said will be harmful for the economy.
"They are our friends," McConnell said. "These are not enemies."
That's a message McConnell said he hopes the president takes into account for the sake of industry and Kentucky Bourbon.
McConnell added he's also worried tariffs would hurt farmers and Toyota in the state of Kentucky.
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