US whisky import tariff 'troubling glimpse' into post-Brexit trade negotiations, says union
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NEWS that single malt whisky imported from Scotland by the United States will be hit by a 25 per cent tariff has been slammed as "a troubling glimpse into future trade negotiations" by a union.
GMB Scotland has condemned President Donald Trump's plan to apply tariffs on Scotch whisky.
The US has announced the imposition of tariffs on imports from a range of countries in the European Union worth up to £6.1 billion from October 18.
Scotch whisky exports to the US were worth £1bn last year and the trade sustains hundreds of jobs and is worth hundreds of thousands of pounds to the Ross-shire economy.
A report commissioned by GMB Scotland and produced by the Fraser of Allander Institute in April, Brexit and the Sectors of the Scottish Economy, revealed Scotland exports £14.9 billion worth of goods and services to the EU and around 144,000 jobs are linked to demand from the EU for Scottish exports.
Gary Smith, GMB Scotland secretary, said: "This is a troubling glimpse into the post-Brexit future and everyone with the Scottish economy’s best interests at heart should be concerned about our prospects following this development.
“Scotland and the rest of the UK are sitting ducks after October 31. The collective strength we have in the EU trading bloc will be gone and there is simply no such thing as a ‘special relationship’ with the United States - Trump will squeeze the UK economy for everything he can get.
“That’s why we have consistently called on the UK Government to bring forward measures to defend whisky and white spirits manufacturing in the face of Brexit uncertainty and to stand-up to US demands on the removal of the geographical indicator (GI) protection for single malt production.
“Those calls have fallen on deaf ears. The truth is the best Brexit for Scotland would be no Brexit at all and the increasing possibility of a ‘no deal’ scenario will be ruinous for the Scottish economy and damaging for our vital whisky and white spirits sector.”
Other goods being targeted include popular export items and gifts from Scotland such as cashmere sweaters, dairy products and pork.
It's understood the tariffs will also apply to olives, biscuits, books and some machinery.
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