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ICYMI: Womack, McGarvey Introduce Legislation to Level Playing Field for Bourbon Distillers

Washington, DC— June 16, 2023… Wednesday, Congressmen Steve Womack (R-AR) and Morgan McGarvey (D-KY) introduced H.R. 4073, the Duty Drawback Clarification Act, a bipartisan bill that would allow American whiskey distillers to participate in the duty drawback program, which is already available to beer, wine, and spirit makers in the United States. The duty drawback program refunds duties and fees paid by importers when they export similar amounts of the same product.

Congressman Womack said, “‘Made in the USA,’ ‘Made in Arkansas.’ Those are the labels we want to see on more products in our country and around the world. The entrepreneurial spirit is strong throughout the Natural State, and this policy change will help our businesses be successful. I’m grateful to work with Rep. McGarvey to advance legislation that fosters economic growth, prioritizes American jobs, and unleashes new sources of opportunity for distillers.”

Congressman McGarvey said, “Bourbon is America’s spirit — it must be made in the United States, and 95 percent of it is made in Kentucky. But bourbon and other whiskeys are excluded from the duty drawback program, a benefit enjoyed by nearly every other beer, wine, and spirit. This legislation will level the playing field for all American-made spirits and help grow their global reach. I’m proud to introduce the Duty Drawback Clarification Act on National Bourbon Day, and I’m honored to work alongside Rep. Womack to improve and strengthen one of our signature industries.”

Duty drawback is an export-promotion program that provides a refund of duties paid at the time of import when similar goods are exported. American beer, wine, and spirits producers all currently take advantage of the program, but because of the unique way it is listed in our tariff classification system, whiskey is ineligible for drawback. This bill clarifies that all whiskey products are commercially interchangeable and therefore eligible for the drawback program by creating a single 8-digit Harmonized Tariff Schedule code for whiskeys. This will ensure that American whiskey receives treatment consistent with all other U.S.-produced beverage alcohol products.

Congressman Steve Womack (AR-3) has represented Arkansas’s Third Congressional District since 2011. He is a member of the House Appropriations Committee.