Trade Sec­re­tary pledges to turn up the heat on US to re­move tar­iffs on Scot­tish whisky

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Front Page - By Alan Tovey and Lizzy Bur­den

LIZ TRUSS has vowed to keep fight­ing for Scot­land’s whisky in­dus­try af­ter the US spared other Bri­tish al­co­holic drinks from tar­iffs amid a transat­lantic trade war.

The Trade Sec­re­tary wel­comed a White House de­ci­sion to avoid slap­ping charges on im­ports of gin and blended whisky – but hit out at the du­ties on sin­gle malts.

She vowed to con­tinue talks with her Amer­i­can coun­ter­part Bob Lighthizer in an at­tempt to get the tax lifted. The two sides have al­ready agreed to end levies on short­bread. Ms Truss said: “These tar­iffs dam­age in­dus­try and liveli­hoods on both sides of the At­lantic and are in no­body’s in­ter­ests. I am there­fore step­ping up talks with the US to re­move them as soon as pos­si­ble.”

The 25pc sin­gle malt tar­iff was im­posed as part of a 16-year bat­tle at the World Trade Or­gan­i­sa­tion (WTO) be­tween the US and Euro­pean Union, with each claim­ing that the other handed out il­le­gal sub­si­dies to sup­port their do­mes­tic aerospace in­dus­tries. Ex­ports of Scotch whisky are down 30pc since tar­iffs were im­posed.

In Oc­to­ber the US won a rul­ing that al­lowed it to pile $7.5bn (£5.7bn) of tar­iffs on im­ports from the EU in re­tal­i­a­tion for EU state sub­si­dies to Air­bus. A re­cip­ro­cal claim about US aid for Boe­ing is ex­pected to get a ver­dict from the WTO in the next few months, paving the way for sim­i­lar ac­tion.

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