By Rory Murphy
MP Alistair Carmichael, has welcomed news that the United States will end retaliatory tariffs imposed on Scottish whisky, which have cost the industry as much as £500m and lowered US exports by 35% since they were first imposed in 2019.
The Biden administration has agreed to lower the 25% tariffs for four months ahead of wider negotiations with the EU. The drop in tariffs also applies to other products including cheese, pork and cashmere.
Mr Carmichael, the LibDem MP for Orkney and Shetland who was formerly a prosecutor at Dumbarton Sheriff Court, said: “It may be a good time for us all to raise a glass to President Biden! US tariffs have caused distillers enormous harm since they were imposed by Donald Trump in 2019 and so a respite is welcome.
“It is vital that the Government uses the negotiating time that they have to ensure that tariffs are not renewed in the future.
“Whisky is Scotland’s flagship export – despite disruption over the past year, the end of tariffs can only be a good thing as we try to recover. With a 23% drop in global exports last year we need to take every opportunity to help our world-class distilleries in the isles to regain lost ground.”
Karen Betts, head of the Scotch Whisky Association, said: “The tariff on Single Malt Scotch Whisky exports to the US has been doing real damage to Scotch Whisky in the 16 months it has been in place, with exports to the US falling by 35%, costing companies over half a billion pounds.
“So today, everyone in our industry – from small companies to large – is breathing a sigh of relief.”