US tariffs on Scotch whisky imports implemented

Import tariffs imposed by the US on European goods, including single malt Scotch whisky, have come into effect.

About 11,000 people are currently employed in the £1 billion Scotch whisky export industry. Picture: Getty Images)
About 11,000 people are currently employed in the £1 billion Scotch whisky export industry. Picture: Getty Images)

The tariffs, approved by the World Trade Organisation, were put in place by the Trump administration on Friday in response to illegal subsidies provided by the EU to plane-maker Airbus.

They target £6.1 billion of European goods, which as well as whisky also include olives, cheese and aircraft.

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About 11,000 people are currently employed in the £1 billion Scotch whisky export industry, with many more directly benefiting from working in the supply chain.

More than 7,000 of the jobs currently in the sector are in rural areas.

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Total exports of whisky have grown by almost 400% in the last 25 years, rising from £280 million in 1994 to £1 billion last year.

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According to data from HMRC and the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), the US represents 22% of global value for the industry and 10.7% of global volume.

SWA chief executive Karen Betts has previously called on the US and EU to leave spirits out of trade disputes “that have nothing to do with our sector”.

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Ms Betts has also urged the UK Government to find a negotiated settlement with both sides, which will re-impose the 0% spirit tariff between America and the European Union.

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