Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Heady Outlook for U.S. Beer Exports

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Heady Outlook for U.S. Beer Exports

Article excerpt

The Clinton administration has succeeded in concluding the largest trade agreement in history, an accord that will provide a basis for sustained global economic growth into the 21st century. Although the total structure has not yet been built, the foundation has unquestionably been laid.

President Bill Clinton and his trade negotiators distinguished themselves when they broke a seven-year impasse and revived the GATT accord at the 11th hour.

The successful conclusion of the Uruguay Round is good news for business and American workers. While not a cure-all, it should spark the export-led recovery and growth that the United States and its trading partners need.

The potential impact on Anheuser-Busch and the entire brewing industry in the next decade is particularly favorable.

Over time, the new GATT agreement will give us the opportunity to compete effectively in these markets. It will reduce or in some cases eliminate high or even prohibitive tariffs on beer in many countries where we see significant market potential.

The U.S. tariff on imported beer is less than 2 percent. By contrast, the European Community currently taxes imported beer at 24 percent. In Japan, the import tax is about 7 percent, and in Australia it is 45 percent.

In the GATT round just concluded, all these countries have agreed to phase these tariffs down to zero within the next decade. When taxes this high are eliminated, new opportunities are created. And these opportunities are substantial.

The beer market in those countries totals more than 250 million barrels a year - that's 3.5 billion standard cases. If American beer can capture just a small share of these markets, a significant volume of new business would be generated. That means jobs for American brewers, manufacturers of cans and other packaging materials, grain farmers, truckers, shippers and others in the export stream. And it means profits to fuel new savings and investment.

The benefits we see in brewing will be evident in other industries as well. …

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