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Losses to Scotch whisky exports after tariffs were imposed by the US have reached £500m, according to an industry body.
New figures suggest exports of single malt Scotch whisky have fallen by more than a third – amounting to more than £500m – since a 25% tariff was imposed in October 2019.
The tariffs were initially introduced by the administration of the former president, Donald Trump, in retaliation for EU state support given to Airbus, with products including Scotch whisky badly affected by the measures.
The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) said distillers were continuing to pay the price for an aerospace dispute that had nothing to do with them.
The SWA’s chief executive, Karen Betts, has described the current situation as “unsustainable”.
She said: “Since tariffs were put in place, our exports to the US have fallen by 35%, amounting to over half a billion pounds in lost exports.
“This is being borne by large and small producers alike, who are losing sales and market share in what has been for decades the industry’s largest and most valuable market, which they may never now recover.
“It’s very hard for Scotch whisky producers to understand why the UK government is so unwilling to address the UK violations of World Trade Organization (WTO) rules on aerospace subsidies at the root of the tariffs.”
The Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, used a newspaper column last month to call on the UK government to negotiate with the new US administration of President Joe Biden and reverse the tariffs.
As well as the immediate suspension of tariffs, the SWA wants more support for the industry, given the losses during the coronavirus pandemic.
Betts added: “The UK government must now act urgently and call for the immediate suspension of all tariffs on unrelated sectors and, at the same time, redouble efforts with the new US administration to resolve the aerospace dispute and lift tariffs permanently.
“The government must also offer some support to distillers, who are shouldering tariff losses alongside dealing with unprecedentedly difficult trading conditions as a result of Brexit and global restrictions to curb Covid-19 transmission.”
The Scottish and UK governments have been contacted for comment.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: US tariffs on Scotch whisky ‘have cost £500m in lost exports’ | Whisky