Scotch whisky facing £100M losses on US tariffs: Industry body

Scotch whisky is among the products targeted by the US for a possible range of new tariffs on imported goods. Photo: PA Media. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.


EDINBURGH, Feb 18, 2020, AFP. Scotland’s whisky industry is facing a £100 million (S$180.7 million) fall in exports as a 25-per cent tariff on imports of single malt Scotch into the United States starts to “hit hard”, according to an industry body, The Business Times reported.

The tariff came into effect on October 18 after Washington retaliated with trade tariffs on the European Union over state subsidies for aircraft manufacturer Airbus.

“We’re deeply disappointed that a 25 percent tariff remains in place on exports of Single Malt Scotch Whisky and Liqueurs to the United States,” the chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, Karen Betts, said in a statement.

“This tariff has now been in place for four months and is hitting Scotch Whisky producers hard, particularly small distilleries.

“We’ve seen a significant drop in exports already, and based on this we believe we could be facing at least £100 million in lost exports over a year.”

Ms Betts said the EU, US and UK must “redouble their efforts” to resolve transatlantic trade disputes so Scotch and American whiskies can return to tariff-free trade.

The association welcomed Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s commitment to remove EU tariffs on US whiskey as soon as possible.

But it said once this happens, London must work to ensure that Washington reciprocates.

In the meantime, the association said the UK government could mitigate the impacts of tariffs by cutting excise duties on spirits in the upcoming budget.

Ms Betts said it would “go some way” to helping Scotch whisky businesses strengthen their presence in the UK to counter-balance losses across the Atlantic.

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