New pressure on Washington

Truss confirms plan for US talks on whisky tariff

Macallan single malt whisky

Single malts have been targeted

British Trade Secretary Liz Truss has confirmed that she will hold further meetings with her US counterpart Robert Lighthizer in the coming weeks to push for the removal of tariffs on Scotch single malt whisky.

Ms Truss, who has been criticised by the Scotch Whisky Association for doing “too little, too late”, says wants to “fight to consign these unfair tariffs to the bin of history”.

She made a similar pledge to re-engage with Mr Lighthizer earlier this month after the US government said it would maintain 15% tariffs on Airbus aircraft and 25% tariffs on other European goods as part of a long-running trade dispute. Some tariffs were lifted, including the levy on shortbread.

In an article in a weekend newspaper she accused the European Union of failing to protect British and Scottish interests.

Scotch whisky producers say the tariff has cost the industry £300 million in lost sales.

Ms Truss said will be meeting with Mr Lighthizer as round four of negotiations begin.

“U.S. tariffs on Scotch whisky are unacceptable and unfair. I cannot be clearer about that. Whisky-making is one of our great industries and a jewel in our national crown,” she wrote in Sunday Telegraph.

“On Japan, we have consensus on the major elements of a deal that will go beyond the agreement the EU has with Japan”, she added, reaffirming earlier reports that both countries seek to agree on a trade deal by the end of August.

Britain, which left the European Union in January, is seeking to clinch a trade agreement with Japan based on the 2019 EU-Japan agreement by the end of the year, when Britain’s no-change transition arrangement with the EU will expire.

“I firmly believe free and fair trade remains the best way forward for the world and for Britain”, she said, adding that talks with the United States, Japan, Australia and New Zealand to strike new free trade agreements were progressing well.”

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