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BNIA: ‘US Sanctions will destroy Armagnac industry’

Published:  11 January, 2021

The Bureau National Interprofessionnel de l'Armagnac (BNIA) has described the latest announcement by the US for sanctions against French wines and spirits as “a real economic bomb” that will “destroy Armagnac industry”.

The sanctions, which comprise expanding the list of products subject to additional duties of 25%, combined with the tense economic context caused by the pandemic, meant that many companies would not recover, said the industry body.   

“Our Armagnac operators, flagships of the Armagnac appellation in France and around the world, are in danger. The American market is historically our first export market, along with China, with a great proportion of vintage Armagnacs sold on this market,” said president Patrick Farbos.

“The operators are intrinsically linked with the US, in cordial trade relations forged over a long time. This announcement will destroy our industry,” he said. 

The conditions of application of the new sanctions “directly concerned our valued Armagnacs on this market and will impact the premium Armagnac market, vintages in particular”, he added. 

“It is a market that allows our Armagnac operators to hold out during this international crisis, he said, as he called upon the President of the French Republic for support. 

“I solemnly appeal to Emmanuel Macron. The situation is serious for the oldest eau-de-vie and numerous companies in the Southwest; in the Landes, Gers and Lot-et-Garonne who market and promote it. It is urgent to act so as not to let this dispute harm our territories.” 

The BNIA also called on all national, regional, departmental and European political representatives to support them in this newly declared battle that it said would “jeopardize the strong economic fabric in the Southwest and of ‘Made in France’”. 

Fifty percent of the Armagnac operators exporting to the USA are affected by the new measures, with premium Armagnacs, including vintages, a niche for added value and differentiating the AOC from other AOCs or other brandies present on the American market, according to the BNIA.

Last July, BNIA elected Patrick Farbos, who is also a cooperative member and president of Caves Les Hauts de Montrouge cooperative in Nogaro, to the role president.