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Whisky industry urges tariff ‘reconciliation’

Published:  08 December, 2021

A consortium of businesses has called upon the governments of the US and UK to remove all tariffs affecting the transatlantic whisky trade.

The dispute arose several years ago, when former president Donald Trump imposed tariffs on EU-origin imports of aluminium and steel. Both the EU and US agreed to suspend these trade barriers in October this year.

Yet as it stands today, the UK is continuing to impose tariffs on American whisky imports. These protectionist measures have seen American whisky exports to the UK slump over the last three and a half years, declining by -53% between 2018 and 2020. This has also negatively impacted jobs across the US, affecting distilleries and all stakeholders in the US supply chain, from farmers to glass producers.

In spite of the difficulties expectations are high for a resolution, with Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP, the UK’s secretary of state for International Trade, due to meet with US secretary of commerce Gina Raimondo this week.

The consortium members include the WSTA, The Bourbon Alliance and US Chamber of Commerce.

A spokesperson for the group commented: “Despite our different sectors, all of our members continue to be hampered by these tariffs. As the end of the year approaches, it is imperative that we resolve this dispute and help our businesses recover as we continue to face additional supply and logistic disruptions.”

They added: “The US and UK share the world’s largest bilateral investment relationship and support nearly 2.7 million jobs in each other’s economies. Tariffs and threats of additional tariffs are acting as major barriers at a time when we should be focusing on recovering from the pandemic, creating jobs, growth and investment in both the UK and the US.

“We welcome the announcement of an agreement between the US and EU in the Section 232 dispute, and the signal that a resolution between the US and UK is possible. We urge the US and UK governments to resolve this dispute without further delay.”