Donald Trump's Scotch whisky tariffs are unfair and Boris Johnson should convince Joe Biden to remove them – Angus Robertson

Five hundred days ago, then US President Donald Trump imposed penal tariffs on Scotland’s greatest export industry: whisky.

Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 12:30 pm
Donald Trump imposed a 25 per cent tariff on Scotch whisky as part of a trade dispute between the US and EU (Picture: David Cheskin/PA wire)
Donald Trump imposed a 25 per cent tariff on Scotch whisky as part of a trade dispute between the US and EU (Picture: David Cheskin/PA wire)

At the cost of more than £1 million pounds a day, the whisky industry has been discriminated against by 25 per cent tariffs which have ramped up the cost of a bottle of single malt Scotch for American consumers by a quarter. Similar tariffs were also applied to cashmere sweaters produced in Scotland.

Donald Trump famously liked looking tough in trade disputes and hammered Scotch whisky as part of an offensive about state support given to Airbus, which has nothing to do with Scotland.

Instead of annual exports totalling more than £1 billion, Scotch whisky exports to the United States have fallen by £542 million.

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Scots industry leaders call for talks with Joe Biden to end whisky tariffs

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his UK government sidekick Michael Gove loved to suck up to Donald Trump, but didn’t do anything to protect Scotland’s biggest exporting industry.

Do we really think that incoming Democrat President Joe Biden is likely to bend over backwards to some of the biggest Trump cheerleaders in the international community?

Hopefully progress can be made with the new US Trade Representative to resolve the aerospace dispute which led to the imposition of the trade tariffs in the first place.

It is not fair that punitive tariffs remain, but they are more than just a hangover from the Trump administration. The civil aircraft dispute is long and extremely complicated, but surely progress can be made without continuing the pain for US and European consumers and exporting industries.

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