The Federation of French Wine and Spirits Exporters (FEVS) recorded a 24% drop in export revenues for the first half of 2020. While the year 2019 had proved fruitful for the sector, the health crisis has caused export figures to plummet in China (-40% in turnover), and in the United States, the customs tax imposed by Donald Trump last autumn accounts for a third of the drop in turnover.
Professionals in the sector have appealed to the French authorities for emergency measures following the significant drop in their turnover. Since September 15, 2020, applicants for EU aid to promote their wines in third countries have been invited to register on the portal of FranceAgrimer, the French office in charge of implementing agricultural policy measures.
Introduced in October 2019, the Trump tax, which surcharges wines imported from France by 25%, accounts for one-third of the decline in turnover from the export of French wine and spirits. The volume exported is also down 10%, a first since 2012.
Wine professionals therefore fear the end of the year 2020 and the year 2021, due to the impact of the health crisis linked to the coronavirus: “There will inevitably be consequences: wines and spirits are consumed a lot in restaurants, leisure, travel. Many of our clients will face cash flow difficulties due to the drop in their sales. It is unlikely that they will be able to place the same orders with us, ” explains Jean-Luc Sylvain, President of the French Federation of Cooperers.
The increase in American customs taxes and the health crisis have led to some relaxation of the procedure for receiving aid for the promotion of French wines outside the European Union. This European subsidy, amounting to 80 million euros for 2021, allows wine professionals to reduce costs that are notably related to public relations, information campaigns, market studies, etc.
This is good news for the wine and spirits sector, after a difficult year. However, the future of the sector remains uncertain, between the health crisis, the tax imposed by the United States, but also the future of trade with the United Kingdom, which remains unclear after Brexit.
Featured photo: © Rémy Cointreau