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Scottish Exports to US: Tariffs

Volume 689: debated on Thursday 25 February 2021

What steps she is taking to seek a reduction on the US tariffs applied on the export of Scotch whisky from the UK to the US. (912449)

We have been working hard to de-escalate this conflict and get punitive tariffs removed on both sides of the Atlantic. This is the way forward, not escalating the tariff battle.

US barriers to trade have been broken down in the past to the benefit of Scottish jobs, and this includes the great work of the UK Government to get Scotch beef back in American supermarkets for the first time in two decades. Does the Secretary of State envisage similar success in removing US tariffs to help cashmere mills in the Scottish borders and Scotch whisky distillers to export to American customers?

My hon. Friend has been a huge champion for Scottish goods such as cashmere and whisky. These tariffs are damaging on both sides of the Atlantic. Today, we are seeing the confirmation hearing of the new US trade representative, and as soon as that is finished I will be on the phone to her seeking an early resolution of these issues.

Despite the pandemic, we have seen a rise in consumption of spirits in North America; this is taking account of the fact that there is a 25% tariff in place for Scotch whisky. There is a danger that some of the alternatives—for example, Canadian whisky or Irish whiskey—could move into that space, and that is damaging for all of us who support the Scotch whisky industry, so has the Prime Minister raised this with President Biden?

I can assure the hon. Member that the Prime Minister is exercised about this issue, as am I, and we are working flat out to get an agreement to make sure that these tariffs are removed.