Scottish trade minister 'optimistic' at solving US tariffs against whisky

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Trade minister Ivan McKee has said he is "optimistic" following a meeting with a US official about tariffs on Scottish goods.


Mr McKee met assistant US trade representative for Europe Dan Mullaney in Washington this week during a visit across the Atlantic.

Scotch whisky exports have been hit by new US tariffs

Scotch whisky exports have been hit by new US tariffs

The meeting covered tariffs imposed by the US in response to a trade dispute with the European Union, including a 25 per cent increase on Scotch whisky.

READ MORE: Single malt Scotch whisky hit by 25% tariff by US under Donald Trump move

The tariffs were levied following a ruling by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) that state aid given to plane manufacturer Airbus was illegal.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr McKee said: "The existing trade relationship between the US and Scotland is already valuable to both countries and so the recent introduction of tariffs is understandably causing major concern to many.

Sniffing a glass of whisky

Sniffing a glass of whisky

"No-one gains from these tariffs and we continue to urge the US and the EU to come to the negotiating table to draw a line under the long-running Airbus and Boeing disputes once and for all.

"Scotland's businesses are already under pressure from the impact the continuing uncertainty around Brexit is having on their ability to operate and the imposition of tariffs under WTO rules undermines any suggestion a potential free trade deal with the US could easily or quickly offset the damage done by Brexit.

"I met Mr Mullaney to explore what can be done to improve existing trade arrangements and raised concerns about the imposition of tariffs."

READ MORE: US tariffs on Scotch whisky imports implemented

The trade minister also took the opportunity to lay out "Scotland's interests and priorities" to the US representative.

He said: "These include the need to preserve Scotland's NHS and our food standards, workers' rights and environmental safeguards."

Mr McKee added: "The meeting was a productive one, and I'm optimistic that progress can be made and opportunities seized upon to further improve trade relations between our two nations."