Government working to persuade Donald Trump to remove damaging Scotch whisky tariffs

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The Government is working to persuade the United States to remove tariffs that are damaging to the Scotch whisky industry, an international trade minister has said.

Conor Burns told MPs that the Government "will stand up for the Scots whisky sector", and advised members of the SNP against "unwise and unwelcome" attacks on Donald Trump.

Mr Burns was responding to a question from new SNP MP Kenny MacAskill, who warned that Scotch whisky distilleries in his constituency are threatened by the US president's tariffs.

Mr Burns was responding to a question from new SNP MP Kenny MacAskill, who warned that Scotch whisky distilleries in his constituency are threatened by the US president's tariffs.

Mr Burns was responding to a question from new SNP MP Kenny MacAskill, who warned that Scotch whisky distilleries in his constituency are threatened by the US president's tariffs.

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Mr MacAskill (East Lothian) said: "Glenkinchie distillery, in my constituency, is threatened by the tariffs imposed on Scotch whisky by President Trump given the decision to leave the EU and seek a trade deal with the USA and given threats about changes to the definition of Scotch whisky.

"What assurances can the minister give that we won't be washing down chlorinated chicken with a glass of American rye?"

In October, a 25% tariff on single malt Scotch whisky exports to the United States was introduced.

Mr Burns said the Government "will work for the Scots whisky industry".

But he warned: "I would gently say to the honourable gentleman that, if we are to de-escalate these tariff disputes, attacks on the administration and on the president are unwise and unwelcome.

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"We are working across Government to persuade the United States that these tariffs are damaging to the Scots whisky sector.

"If the SNP wouldn't chunter, and get behind us, we might have more chance of removing those tariffs.

"We will seek to stand up for the Scots whisky sector, persuade the United States to remove these tariffs - the Secretary of State has been in touch with trade representative Lighthizer.

"We will work for the Scots whisky industry. Get behind the Government."