levy lifted

Whisky sector hails US suspension of tariffs

Karen Betts SWA

Karen Betts: fabulous news

US trade authorities have agreed to a four-month suspension of tariffs imposed on UK goods including single malt whiskies and cashmere.

The levy was imposed at the end of 2019 in retaliation to subsidies given by the EU to the aircraft maker Airbus. The suspension also covers items such as cheese, pork and machinery.

It follows a unilateral move by the UK Department for International Trade to drop its tariffs on some US goods. The suspension takes effect from today.

Chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association said Karen Betts said it was a huge relief to the industry.

“This is fabulous news, and our industry is delighted,” she said. “The tariff on Single Malt Scotch Whisky exports to the US has been doing real damage to Scotch Whisky in the 16 months it has been in place, with exports to the US falling by 35%, costing companies over half a billion pounds.

“So today, everyone in our industry – from small companies to large – is breathing a sigh of relief.

“So today, everyone in our industry – from small companies to large – is breathing a sigh of relief.  Suspending these tariffs – stemming from a transatlantic trade dispute that had nothing to do with us – and a return to tariff-free trade with the US means livelihoods and communities across Scotland will be protected. 

“It means that companies can now really focus on recovery – on building back the American market as well as on building back global exports hit by the coronavirus pandemic. 

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