Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has highlighted the impact of recent US tariffs on Scottish whisky and other goods on Northern Isles businesses in a Westminster debate. Mr. Carmichael noted the success of high-quality exports as part of the Northern Isles economy and called on the Government to outline concrete action on the issue.
Speaking ahead of the debate, Mr. Carmichael said:
“Earlier this month I wrote to the Secretary of State for International Trade to ask for an update on progress made by the Government in mitigating these tariffs and I am still waiting for a response. We are in a crucial period for tariff talks. We lose our seat at the negotiating table at the end of this week, and yet the only public statements from the Government to date have been vague at best.
“We have two enormously successful whisky distilleries in Orkney. We cannot afford to undercut the growth of these industries, which support our local communities.”
Speaking at the debate, Mr. Carmichael said:
“There is a fundamental disconnect here that if the sector in breach of WTO rules is not the one that suffers the penalty, then there is never going to be incentive to improve.
“We have to look at the industry as one unit. The small distilleries, the start-ups, these are the people who will be most seriously impacted.”
Speaking afterwards, Mr. Carmichael said:
“This issue is about free trade and reducing the barriers that protectionists like President Trump want to place between economies. The current difficulties faced by whisky will become the difficulties of beef, lamb and fish if we do not secure a deal with the EU.”