“It’s just an enormous effect. Our prices will go up dramatically. Think about what would happen if everyone had to double their prices” Callaghan said.

NEWPORT — As the U.S. faces the possibility of 100% tariffs on European wine and other products, Newport County businesses are looking at what that could mean on a local level.

The increased tariffs are in retaliation for an ongoing issue stemming from illegal European subsidies to Airbus, as determined by the World Trade Organization. 

In response, a 25% tariff was placed on certain wines from France, Germany, Spain and the U.K. in October. Following that, a French digital service tax aimed at companies like Google and Amazon was put in place. Then in December, the U.S. Trade Representative proposed 100% tariffs on nearly all wine from Europe, according to a story from the Wall Street Journal.

“It’s just absolutely foolish,” owner of Bellevue Wine & Spirits John Callaghan said.

“It’s all over Airbus…To do it over that is absurd,” he continued, adding “You don’t see Airbus planes falling out of the sky,” comparing the company to Boeing, which was determined to be at a disadvantage because of the subsidies for Airbus.

Now, businesses around the country are dealing with the already 25% increased tariffs and figuring out how to move forward.

“It’s just an enormous effect. Our prices will go up dramatically. Think about what would happen if everyone had to double their prices” Callaghan said.

He predicts that people might stop or buy fewer imports if the tariffs increase, which would impact the the 1.7 million people employed by the industry in the U.S. 

Christopher Bender, co-owner of Stoneacre Brasserie and Stoneacre Wine & Spirits, said the tariffs would, “definitely make things more difficult.”

In addition to the effect on the bottom line, it comes down to the offerings at stores and restaurants.

“If it persists, we’d have to reconsider the styles of wine we carry,” Bender said. “We’re very focused on European-centric with a strong domestic backbone. We’d have to look at other stuff altogether.”

For those who might wonder what the difference between American wines and European wines are, “There is a significant taste profile difference,” said Callaghan, who went on to say there is no positive side to this.

rthatcher@newportri.com