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US Tariffs on Scotch Whisky

US Tariffs on Scotch Whisky
The 25% tariff on Scotch Whisky exports to the United States, in place since October 2019, was suspended for five years in June 2021. Learn more about its impact.

Overview

In October 2019, a 25% tariff was imposed by the US government on imports of Single Malt Scotch Whisky.  This tariff, and retaliation imposed on additional UK and European products at the same time, was awarded to the US by the WTO under the Boeing/Airbus trade dispute because of subsidies given to Airbus by EU member states including the UK. From the date that the tariff was imposed, exports of Scotch Whisky to the US fell by more than 30%, amounting to over half a billion pounds in lost exports.

Read our full FAQ on Scotch Whisky tariffs here.

In June 2021, a UK-US deal on future aerospace subsidies was agreed which suspended the 25% tariff on single malt Scotch Whisky for a further five years. This followed news in March that the tariff was to be suspended for four months, bringing to an end 17 months of export losses for Scotch Whisky producers in our biggest market.

Commenting on the news, SWA Chief Executive Karen Betts said:

“This is very good news for Scotch Whisky. The past two years have been extremely damaging for our industry, with the loss of over £600m in exports to the United States caused by a 25% tariff on Single Malt Scotch Whisky imposed as a result of the long-running dispute between US and European aircraft manufacturers. This deal removes the threat of tariffs being reimposed on Scotch Whisky next month and enables distillers to focus on recovering exports to our largest and most valuable export market.

“Today’s agreement is a culmination of many months of intensive negotiations and we’re grateful to Liz Truss, International Trade Secretary, and Katherine Tai, US Trade Representative, and their teams for their hard work.  Given, however, that this deal suspends tariffs rather than fully resolving the underlying dispute, what’s critical now is that the governments and aerospace companies on both sides stick to their commitments and work with one another constructively. 

“I want to note too that American whiskies remain subject to tariffs on entry into the UK and EU as a result of a separate dispute on steel and aluminium, and we hope these tariffs can also be resolved quickly.”

We called time on tariffs!

Our thanks to everyone who joined our campaign to call time on tariffs - writing to their MPs and MSPs, and engaging on this important issue for Scotch Whisky distillers, who can now focus on recovering exports in the industry's most valuable market.

FAQ: Tariffs

Learn more about tariffs and how they affect international trade for Scotch Whisky producers.

US Tariffs on Scotch Whisky news & commentary

17 June 2021

SWA comments on 5 year suspension of US Tariffs

SWA statement following the UK Government announcement that tariffs on Scotch Whisky have been suspended for a further five years as part of a UK-US deal on future aerospace subsidies .

04 March 2021

SWA comments on suspension of US Tariffs

The SWA has reacted to the announcement that US tariffs on Scotch Whisky and other products will be suspended.

02 February 2021

Scotch Whisky Tariff Losses in US Reach Half Billion Pounds

The Scotch Whisky industry calls on government to address aerospace subsidy violations as losses mount

08 December 2020

SWA comments on UK government's new approach to US tariffs

Our Chief Executive Karen Betts comments on the new approach to tariffs signalled by the Department for International Trade

28 July 2020

Industry Calls for U.S. and EU to End Trade Dispute Urgently to Save Jobs

17 associations representing beverage alcohol sectors have submitted comments in opposition to the U.S. government’s proposal to impose tariffs on distilled spirits, wine and beer from the EU and UK.

24 June 2020

US Tariffs: SWA comment on latest USTR announcement

Read the latest comment from the SWA on the USTR's recent announcement on the possibility of new tariffs on spirits products.

07 May 2020

SWA Calls for Tariff Elimination as US-UK Free Trade Talks Begin

The SWA has welcomed the formal trade negotiations that have begun this week between the UK and the US governments, and calls for removal of all tariffs on whiskies.

18 October 2019

SWA calls for end to damaging trade war as 25% tariff to US comes into force

The SWA is calling for support from the UK government following the imposition of a 25% tariff on US imports of Single Malt Scotch Whisky and Liqueurs.

03 October 2019

SWA statement on US Tariffs for Scotch Whisky

The SWA responds to US import tariffs on Scotch Whisky.