UK Government 'failing' Scottish whisky industry after year of Donald Trump's tariffs

The British Government has been accused of "failing” Scottish whisky by failing to solve the massive tariffs first imposed on the industry one year ago.

Thursday, 8th October 2020, 4:54 pm
Donald Trump hit Scotch with tariffs last October
Donald Trump hit Scotch with tariffs last October

US president Donald Trump hit the single malts with 25 per cent tariffs in October last year as an aggressive response to European subsidies for the planemaker Airbus.

With the industry having repeatedly called for help, ministers have now been blasted for failing to sort the issue.

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Speaking during trade questions today, SNP MP Brendan O’Hara demanded answers.

He said: “Exactly a year ago the United States imposed these 25 per cent tariffs on Scotch malt whisky, devastating exports and threatening thousands of Scottish jobs.

“Yet, despite his department making the removal of these damaging tariffs a priority, his government has failed to move our special friend in the White House an inch on these issues.

“Could the minister explain exactly why the Scotch malt whisky, apart from being £360 million poorer, is in exactly the same place today as it was a year ago?”

The tariffs have seen a furious response, with the Scottish whisky industry previously attacking the UK Government for its “inexplicably slow” action.Earlier this year the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) accused UK ministers of prioritising post-Brexit trade talks with the US instead of fighting unfair tariffs, and urged them to sort it before the election.

SWA Chief executive Karen Betts explained: “It has taken the UK Government a full six months after the UK left the EU to start to tackle tariffs directly with the US government, which seems to us inexplicably slow.

“The UK Government must now focus its energy on developing a clear strategy for settling the UK share of the Airbus-Boeing and steel and aluminium disputes with the US, rather than looking to the EU to do this for us.”

Today trade minister Greg Hands insisted the UK Government was working to address the tariffs.

He told the Commons: “The government takes very seriously the punitive US tariffs on UK goods, including on single malt Scotch whisky.

“We are fighting for the removal of all such tariffs and are pushing for a negotiated settlement to the underlying World Trade Organisation civil aviation cases.”


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