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17 December 2020

'Deal to be done' on Scotch Whisky tariffs, says USTR

Robert Lighthizer made the comments in an interview with the BBC.

Commenting as the US Trade Representative signalled that a UK-US mini deal can be done to remove Scotch Whisky tariffs , Chief Executive of the Scotch Whisky Association Karen Betts said:

“It’s encouraging to hear the US Trade Representative say that he thinks there is a deal to be done to resolve ongoing trade disputes between the UK and US that would see tariffs on Scotch Whisky and other products, such as Scottish cashmere, lifted.  These tariffs have done enormous damage to Scotch Whisky over the last 14 months – with the industry losing over £400m in exports, and counting.

“Secretary of State Liz Truss’s decision last week to suspend tariffs on US products in the Airbus/Boeing dispute is an important step forward, and a strong signal of the UK’s willingness to agree a resolution.  We would now like to see the US reciprocate by suspending tariffs.  Suspension on both sides would, we believe, create a positive environment for intensified settlement talks to take place.  A settlement would enable everyone – aircraft manufacturers, Scotch Whisky and other industries caught up in this – to focus on economic recovery rather than losing revenue to punitive tariffs.

“Time is of the essence – Ambassador Lighthizer was very clear about that in his interview.  The US and UK governments must now work hard to find a final settlement to Airbus/Boeing and steel and aluminium disputes, and bring about the rapid return of tariff free trans-Atlantic trade in whiskies.”