The Jerusalem Post
Scotch but no bourbon: UK-US tariff truce gives dram of hope to beverage industry
LONDON (Reuters) – The drinks industry welcomed the UK-US truce on Thursday that saw tariffs removed on Scotch whisky and most other spirits, although they called for further efforts to remove the last export duties on American whiskey.
Although the dispute had focused on a 17-year tussle over subsidies for US planemaker Boeing and European rival Airbus, the drinks got caught in it when president Donald Trump slapped 25% tariffs on Scotch whisky in 2019.
Those tariffs – which had already been suspended earlier in the year – now end for at least five years as a result of the deal struck by Britain and the US.
“This is very good news for Scotch whisky. The past two years have been extremely damaging
for our industry,” said Karen Betts, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, adding that the industry had lost over £600 million ($840m.) in
exports as a result of the 25% tariff.
“This deal removes the threat of tariffs being reimposed on Scotch whisky next month and enables distillers to focus on recovering exports to our largest and most valuable export market.”
Noting the truce had not fully resolved the underlying dispute, she urged the governments to keep on working constructively.
The deal also helps US exporters of rum, brandy and vodka, which will see 25% tariffs of their own products also lifted.
But exports of bourbon and other American whiskeys to Britain and the European Union are still subject to tariffs imposed in retaliation over a separate dispute about steel and aluminum.
“This puts American whiskeys at a serious competitive disadvantage in the UK and the EU, our two most important export markets,” said Chris Swonger, president and CEO of the Distilled Spirits Council.