PORTLAND, Maine — On Tuesday, Ned Swain traveled from Portland to Washington, D.C., to deliver testimony that he hoped would save his small business.
Swain runs Devenish Wines, a Maine-based wine distribution company that stocks restaurants and wine shops from Portland to Mount Desert Island and Down East. He’s one of many Mainers who have spent decades making a life in Maine’s hospitality, tourism and restaurant industries who fear a new proposal for 100 percent tariffs on European wine, cheese, olives and other agricultural goods that would “devastate” their business.
“There are a lot of people quoting figures saying that a number of warehouse workers, logistics workers and people who work for trucking companies will lose their jobs,” Swain said. “I wanted to show up in Washington and say, ‘Hey, I’m not from Manhattan or San Francisco. I work in a warehouse, and this will shrink my business.’”
The U.S. trade representative has proposed dramatic new tariffs on wine, cheese and other agricultural products from the European Union that would essentially double the price of those goods on the shelves — if they made it to the states at all.