America lifts tariffs on Scotch whisky and other British goods for four months

Ben Riley-Smith
·1 min read
A bar tender pours 12 years old Macallan highland single malt scotch whisky - John Keeble/Getty Images Europe 
A bar tender pours 12 years old Macallan highland single malt scotch whisky - John Keeble/Getty Images Europe

America has lifted tariffs on Scotch whisky and other British goods for four months, pausing a long-running dispute over aircraft subsidies as both sides seek a resolution.

During Donald Trump’s presidency the US imposed tariffs on European Union food, wine and spirits, including on Scotch whisky, in 2018 amid the airline row.

The dispute is between Airbus, which builds wings and commercial aircraft in Europe, and Boeing, which is made in the US. It is over state subsidies.

The UK Government unilaterally dropped tariffs placed on the US late last year, once Britain was outside the EU. It was hoped the move would encourage the US to do the same.

On Thursday, with Joe Biden now in the White House, the US administration did just that, suspending tariffs for four months in a new push to end the row.

It means that whisky tariffs are being reduced from 25 per cent to zero. Cashmere producers in Ayrshire, pig farmers in Yorkshire and stilton makers in the Midlands will also benefit.

Liz Truss, the International Trade Secretary who has led the strategy from the UK side, said she was “delighted” by Washington’s move.

She said: “The easier it is for Americans to buy a bottle of Macallan, Talisker or Glenmorangie, the more money those producers will have to invest in their businesses, their staff and futures.”

Boris Johnson said: “From Scotch whisky distillers to stilton-makers, businesses across the UK will benefit from the US decision today to suspend tariffs in this dispute.”