GMB Scotland joins calls for tariff truce

4th February, 2020 by Melita Kiely

Trade union GMB Scotland has accused the UK government of leaving the Scotch whisky industry “exposed to attacks from the US” as it urges an end to EU-US tariffs.

Scotch whisky barrels

The US introduced a 25% tariff on single malt Scotch whisky last year

GMB Scotland is the latest trade organisation to join the plight to end EU-US tariffs, which it said threaten tens of thousands of jobs across the spirits sector.

Keir Greenaway, GMB Scotland organiser, said: “The Conservative government has repeatedly ignored GMB warnings and left the Scottish whisky industry exposed to attacks from the US.

“These tariffs constitute a direct threat to the Scottish economy and to more than 20,000 jobs across the UK.”

In October last year, the US introduced a 25% tariff on imports of single malt Scotch whisky to the US over an ongoing spat regarding EU and US subsidies to Airbus and Boeing.

It followed a retaliatory move by the EU in June 2018 to hit American whiskey with a 25% tariff after US president Donald Trump introduced tariffs on European steel and aluminium.

Last week, the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) urged an end to the “punitive tariffs”, which it said could cost the Scotch whisky industry £100 million (US$130m) in exports this year.

Industry groups Spirits Europe and the Distilled Spirits Council of the US also came together to demand an “urgent return” to tariff-free transatlantic trade last month.

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