Brexit: Boris Johnson says UK 'can live with' no-deal as issue of tariffs raised
The Prime Minister has said that the UK economy could survive trading on WTO terms if no deal comes from post-Brexit trade talks with the EU, as his government was pressed to set out what steps were being taken over “damaging” tariffs imposed by America on key Scottish exports.
Mr Johnson was bullish about the prospects of a trade deal with the European Union and claimed Scotland would benefit from Brexit, as he appeared on the BBC this morning.
However his comments came as Scottish trade minister Ivan McKee called on his government to do more to support Scotland’s malt whisky, cheese and cashmere industries which have faced US tariffs of 25 per cent for a year.
Mr McKee said the charges were not only damaging Scotland's economy but also causing “significant harm” to businesses, many of which are based in small, rural communities.
Mr McKee has revealed he’s written to UK trade minister Greg Hands, calling on him to share a “detailed account of the UK Government's plans regarding the management, mitigation and route for removal of these tariffs going forward”.
He also urged the UK government to set out what engagement it has with the EU to settle the dispute that resulted in the tariffs being imposed in the first place. "Efforts to absorb the ensuing additional costs and weather these impacts are becoming increasingly unsustainable,” he said.
A UK Government spokeswoman said it was “fighting incredibly hard on this issue” and added: “US tariffs on key Scottish products are unacceptable, unfair and harm industry and consumers on both sides of the Atlantic. We continue to raise the issue at the highest levels of the US administration and are stepping up talks to get these tariffs removed.
"Our action is in stark contrast to the EU, which has failed to stand up for British and Scottish business.”
Asked about the prospect of no deal with the EU the Prime Minister said: “I hope that they'll agree to the deal that we've set out because it's a very good deal for the EU. All we're asking our friends and partners to offer is terms that they've already offered to Canada which is you know a long way away from here.
“I don't want the Australian-WTO type outcome, particularly, but we can more than live with it.”
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