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US Tariffs on Scotch Whisky

US Tariffs on Scotch Whisky
A tariff of 25% has been imposed on US imports of Scotch Whisky since October 2019. Learn more about the impact this is having on the Scotch Whisky industry.

Let's Call Time On Tariffs

What’s happening?

Scotch Whisky and American Whiskey distillers are caught in a trade war, which has nothing to do with us.

The Scotch Whisky industry has been hit by a 25% tariff on Single Malt going into the US. The tariff has been in place since October 2019, and Scotch Whisky exports have fallen by more than 30%, worth over half a billion pounds. Likewise, American whiskey distillers have now had a 25% tariff in place on their exports into the EU for two years, which has meant that their exports have fallen by a third in that time.

These tariffs are not only causing short-term losses to the industry, but also long-term harm to the Scotch Whisky category, since the market share lost as a result of tariffs could take years to rebuild. 

The SWA is urging the UK government urgently to call for the immediate suspension of all tariffs on unrelated sectors, and a resolution to the aerospace dispute by addressing UK violations of WTO rules on subsidies.




What does that mean?

Scotch Whisky is one of Scotland’s and the UK’s most important industries. We employ 11,000 people in Scotland, and our sector’s supply chain supports 40,000 jobs throughout the UK. Scotch is worth over £5.5bn to the UK economy.

  • Coupled with the impact of COVID-19, the damage that tariffs are causing could result in job losses in the UK and US.
  • Whisky fans see their choices diminish, and favourite products could become harder to find.
  • Whisky tariffs are bad for Scotland’s local communities that rely on free trade with the US to boost the economy. They mean that Scotch is losing market share in the US, which cannot be recovered overnight.

How can you help?

We’re doing everything we can to ensure that the UK government knows what the Scotch Whisky sector is up against, but you can help, too.

Whether you live and work in the communities for whom Scotch is a lifeblood industry, if you’ve enjoyed a tour or a tasting in one of Scotland’s distilleries, or if you simply enjoy savouring a dram: let your MP know how you feel.

  • Tell them to #CallTimeOnTariffs by urging the UK government to act fast, to support the International Trade Secretary in finding a deal to end the tariffs. 
  • Let them know how important the Scotch Whisky industry is to the economy as we recover from COVID-19

Contact your MP

  1. Find the contact details of your MP by putting your postcode into
  2. Your local MP is displayed, click their name
  3. Copy and paste the suggested letter here – please change as necessary
  4. Provide your full name and address – needed when contacting MPs
  5. Send the letter to your MP via email

Tell us you have emailed your MP by emailing so we can keep you in touch about our campaign to end tariffs

Tweet your MP

  1. Find the twitter handle of your MP by putting your postcode into

  2. Tweet them to let you know you think they should help #CallTimeOnTariffs – remember to include the hashtag!

Tariffs on #ScotchWhisky continue to do severe damage to an iconic industry: over half a billion in lost exports.

I’ve just written to [insert MP’s Twitter handle] to ask the UK Government to #CallTimeOnTariffs

Learn more and take action here:


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.  Since the tariff was imposed, exports of Scotch Whisky to the US have fallen by more than 30%, amounting to over half a billion pounds in lost exports.

The UK Government must act swiftly to defend UK interests, including Scotch Whisky. Now the UK has left the EU, it is no longer appropriate for the EU to negotiate in the Airbus/Boeing dispute and other trade disputes on the UK’s behalf.  Instead, the UK government can now forge its own path in resolving these disputes.

Our industry supports the UK-US trade negotiations, believing there is much to be gained for us and other sectors in a good deal with the US. But clearly tariffs need to be addressed and resolved in these talks too. The SWA is urging the UK government urgently to call for the immediate suspension of all tariffs on unrelated sectors. At the same time, they say that the UK must work to resolve the aerospace dispute by addressing UK violations of WTO rules on subsidies and by agreeing a future regime of support to aerospace with the US – as soon as the new US Trade Representative assumes office – that is WTO compliant.  Only then will the tariffs be permanently lifted and the UK government be in a position to live up to its aspiration to be a champion for free and fair trade within the international, rules-based system. 

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.