A man drinks American whiskey at a bar in Shanghai, China, April 6, 2018. REUTERS/Aly Song
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When spirits dealer Daniel Taytslin brought his first pallet of American Ragtime Rye whiskey into Shanghai in early April, the 672 bottles faced a 5 percent import tariff at China's customs. His next shipment from New York could be a lot more expensive as China prepares to slap a 25 percent additional tariff on hundreds of American products, including whiskey, because of a deepening trade dispute with the United States.The uncertainty gripping the niche market – U.S. whiskey imports to China were worth only $8.9 million last year – reflects the wider concern in the U.S. business community in China that the trade standoff could spark major disruption for American products in the world's second largest economy.U.S. whiskey imports are in second place but growing rapidly.China has fired back with a planned 25 percent tariff on whiskey and around 100 other U.S. products, but has not yet said when it will take effect.James Leung, business director at Zhuhai Independent Wine & Spirit Ltd., which imports U.S. bourbon whiskey brand Heaven Hill, said he had been told a container of at least one major U.S. whiskey brand was being held at a Chinese port.
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