End of UK-US tariffs ‘essential’ to sector’s recovery
Seventy-five trade bodies, including the Scotch Whisky Association and the Distilled Spirits Council of the Unites States, have called on the US and UK governments to remove retaliatory tariffs on goods unrelated to the steel and aluminium industries.
Former US president Donald Trump ignited a tariff dispute in 2018 when he imposed a 25% tariff on steel and a 10% duty on aluminium from the European Union (EU).
In response, the EU slapped a 25% tariff on American whiskey and other goods, amounting to €2.8 billion (US$3.3bn) worth of products.
While the EU and US reached an agreement to end the retaliatory measures in November 2021, the UK is responsible for its own tariff negotiations following Brexit, and has continued to charge the 25% tax on American whiskey.
Last month, trade representatives from the UK and US revealed they had begun discussions to resolve the steel and aluminium dispute, but so far no agreement has been reached.
As businesses on both sides of the Atlantic await a trade deal, 75 organisations have come together to issue a statement demanding the end of retaliatory duties.
Groups speaking out against the tariffs include the American Craft Spirits Association, The Wine & Spirit Trade Association, The Bourbon Alliance, the Kentucky Distillers’ Association and a variety of other spirits-focused organisations.
‘Since June 2018, suppliers and supply chains wholly unrelated to the steel and aluminium dispute have suffered from the imposition or threat of tariffs,’ the statement read.
‘What’s worse, the last two years have been particularly challenging due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As we work to rebound from this crisis, our sectors continue to be hampered by tariffs which were imposed when the UK was part of the EU, but are now only in place in the UK. The US and UK governments must level the playing field with the EU and remove the competitive disadvantage we now face.
‘It is imperative these tariffs are removed so our sectors have the ability to recover from the harsh economic impacts and significant supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic. Tariffs and the threat of additional tariffs are major barriers at a time when we should be focusing on recovering from the pandemic, creating jobs, promoting growth and investments in both the UK and the US.
‘We welcome the suspension of tariffs between the US and EU in the steel and of the aluminium dispute, and urge the UK and US governments to quickly secure an agreement removing tariffs and the threat of tariffs on products unrelated to the dispute, following the precedent set under the Airbus/Boeing dispute. This is an important step in helping to reset the critical US-UK trading relationship, and it is essential to our ability to recover from the pandemic.’
For a closer look at the American whiskey landscape, check out our pick of the category’s brands to watch in 2022.