DRINKS INDUSTRY: Scotch whisky exports have decreased by £1 billion in 2020


Scotch whisky and battle with the US to scrap tariffs costing industry £1 billion in exports.  Above, the Chivas bottling and packaging plant at Kilmalid in Dumbarton.

By Bill Heaney

Scotch whisky exports have decreased by £1 billion in 2020, which was a drop of 23 per cent on the previous year, Gordon MacDonald, an SNP MSP has told the Scottish Parliament.

Mr MacDonald said: “That is due partly to the pandemic, but a significant part is due to the 25 per cent United States Government tariff on single malt whisky that continues to damage the industry.

“Can the First Minister update members, in relation to the United Kingdom budget next week, on what action the Scottish Government is taking to support removal of the tariff and what support it has given to the whisky industry?”

West Dunbartonshire is a major centre for whisky production and bottling plans for other luxury drinks.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told him: “That is an important issue. We will continue to fight for a resolution to it for our whisky industry, including through representations that we make in relation to the budget.

“Not only the whisky industry but other sectors, including cashmere clothing, have suffered since the US tariffs were imposed over a year ago.

“They are causing significant economic harm that has been estimated at £500 million of losses, and that is growing.

“The UK Government has so far failed to achieve anything meaningful, despite regular public statements on the issue, but we will continue to press to have the tariffs lifted.

“The jobs, livelihoods and businesses that are affected by them matter deeply to Scotland and should matter deeply to all of us.”

One comment

  1. So that’s What our American friends do to us when they add a +25% import duty onto malt whisky sales. The collapse our whiskey exports.

    And this is the country Boris Johnstone wants to strike a trade deal with, which trade deal can include our NHS.

    Quite how many jobs are being lost in everything from distilling the spirit, to bottling, to labelling, to maintaining the plants involved in producing the stuff, to transportation I don’t know. But losing £1,000,000,000 million of sales is no small change.

    Like the shell fish industry, or the pelagic fishermen, or the Scottish food produce industry now hitting the skids too, hasn’t Boris done well.

    P45 and the luxury of some universal credit is our deserves. Keep em hungry, keep em mean, that’ll keep Jock focussed.

    Meanwhile, for many in the highest echelons of power they focus on the very important rights of Trans and the need for a Hate Crime Bill. Good stuff – eh!

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