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Datamyne Resource Center

Covering trade & transport, with tips on using import-export data to advantage

Alcohol Imports – Ongoing Impact from COVID-19

Category: Imports

U.S. Alcohol Imports – By Volume

Heavily impacted by COVID-19 during the first half of 2020, imports of wine and spirits under chapter 22 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) continue to lag behind 2019. According to the latest available trade data from Descartes Datamyne, this decline continues despite a tentative rebound in the run-up to the holiday season.

A drop in production from top-ranked exporting countries has combined with a decline in demand from the United States to result in the lowest second quarter imports by volume in over five years. Overall, maritime imports of wine, spirits, and beer have fallen 7.4 percent compared to 2019.

U.S. Imports of Alcohol Overall

The outbreak of coronavirus is not the only factor impacting the imports of wine, sprits, and beer. 2019 had a record volume of imports due primarily to ongoing trade disputes between the United States and the European Union.

Top 5 Countries of Origin for U.S. Wine and Spirits

Throughout much of 2019, U.S. Trade Representatives were indicating the possibility of a 100 percent tariff on EU alcohol exports. While that increase in duty has not yet been put into effect, the existing 25 percent rate on French, German, and Spanish wines (as well as Scottish whiskey) did result in many importers opting to stock up during the latter months of 2019. This resulted in the second highest volume of alcohol imports into the United States in a decade.

Imports of Alcohol from France

Shifting volumes among individual alcohol imports

While overall maritime imports of alcohol have declined throughout 2020, examining the subheadings of Chapter 22 reveals the key trends of specific beverages. Only Descartes Datamyne breaks down their maritime bills of lading (BoL) data to the six-digit H.S., allowing for this depth of analysis.

Top 5 Products for U.S. Alcohol Imports

The maritime imports of large volume containers of wine [HS 2204.29] disrupts the overall downward trend of alcohol imports, growing 65.4 percent compared to the same period in 2019. Examining the individual countries of origin for this wine reveals a surge in volume from South America, with top ranked Chile growing 252.2 percent compared to 2019.

Few indications of a peak season recovery

Looking forward, it is unlikely that the imports of alcohol will recover in 2020 to the levels of previous years. While there has been a rebound so far in the second half of the year, including a large surge in the month of August, volumes dropped again in September and have continued to fall short of previous years. Typically, the largest spike in yearly imports occur during the peak season of September through November. Currently, the latest available data from Descartes Datamyne indicates a definitive lack of the anticipated peak season, with maritime import volumes in November totally 19,908.4 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs), a 4.3 percent drop off from the peak month of August.

Keeping Track of Trends in U.S. Imports

Prior to COVID-19, it was already a challenge for business leaders to keep pace with shifts in import trends. From duty and tariff changes, to economic fluctuations, supply chain disruptions and changes in demand, the volume and value of commodities can shift and impact a business’s bottom line. In addition, over the last few decades, globalization has prompted businesses to be more connected, meaning global imports and exports flow more quickly and any changes can have a far-reaching impact.

Today, as industries begin to recover from the pandemic, it is critical that they stay informed. This is where accurate, current, and fully reviewed global trade data comes in.

How Descartes Can Help

Descartes Datamyne delivers business intelligence with comprehensive, accurate, up-to-date, import and export information.

Our multinational trade data assets can be used to trace global supply chains and our bill-of-lading trade data – with cross-references to company profiles and customs information – can help businesses identify and qualify new sources. Ask us for a free, no obligation demonstration of our data on a product or trade commodity of your choosing – and keep the custom research we create with our compliments.

If you would like to view more insights into other industries or U.S. import trends, Descartes Datamyne has produced the U.S. Commodities “Big Book”.

Designed as a reference on U.S. import trade trends for port authorities, carriers, logistics providers, importers and shippers, this report analyzes the top U.S. imports by value during the months of Jan-July 2020 and measures those commodities against the same period in 2019. Examining trends across every section of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule, the report provides a gauge on the full impact of coronavirus on U.S. imports.

The report covers the key points that business leaders should know across a broad range of industries.

Date posted: December 7, 2020

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