Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has backed the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA)’s campaign urging the government to take action on tariffs imposed by the US on whisky imports from the UK. A 25% tariff was imposed on single malt whisky in October 2019, with over £200m lost in export revenue according to the SWA. Whisky exports to the US were worth over £1bn in 2019; the US is the most valuable export market for Scottish whisky producers.
Media reports have suggested that the US is now considering expanding its tariffs to include blended whisky and gin.
Commenting, Mr Carmichael said:
“I am glad to back the Scotch Whisky Association’s campaign to call time on tariffs. With US trade talks ongoing the government needs to stand up for this key export industry. If this is to be a golden age of trade with the US then the government should prove it.
“Moving from tariff-free access to a 25% rate has caused enormous damage already to our distilleries. Now faced with the economic shock of Covid-19, the situation is even more urgent. These tariffs are a roadblock to the recovery that we need. If the government fails to stand up to Donald Trump then we face years of strong growth going down the drain.”
“Far from reducing tariffs the Trump administration is threatening to extend them to cover gin and blended whisky. We have world-class whisky distilleries and quality gin producers in the Northern Isles, which have had great success exporting globally. We cannot allow this success to be undermined by trade barriers.”