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Truce agreed

Whisky exporters cheer lifting of US tariffs

Macallan single malt whisky

Whisky sales to the US have plummeted

A crippling 25% tax on Scotch whisky exports to the US will be lifted after an agreement in the long-running row over subsidies to aircraft manufacturing giants Boeing and Airbus.

The US and the EU have agreed a truce in a 17-year trade dispute as President Joe Biden said they should turn their attention to battling competition from China.

Since a 25% tariff on single malt whisky exports to the US were imposed in October 2019 sales have fallen by more than a third – amounting to more than £500m.

US trade representative Katherine Tai said the agreement resolved a longstanding “trade irritant in the US-Europe relationship”, and paved the way for a five-year suspension of tariffs that were imposed on $7.5 billion worth of EU goods by Donald Trump in October 2018.

His tariffs also hit still wine made in France, Germany, Spain and the UK single malt whiskey from Northern Ireland; and liqueurs made in Germany, Ireland, Italy and Spain. Shortly before leaving office in January the outgoing president added brandy to the list, hitting Cognac’s largest export market.

In December, the UK said it would voluntarily suspend its tariffs on US goods imposed as parts of the Boeing dispute.

In March, President Biden agreed a temporary halt to tariffs with Brussels, shelving the tariffs on each other’s drinks industries for four months while working towards a wider agreement over the aviation dispute.  This was set to expire on July 11.

Speaking on the press call, Ms Tai said that “instead of fighting with one of our closest allies, we are finally coming together against a common threat”.

See also

First grain distillery planned for Scottish Borders



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