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2 February 2021

Stevenson Hits Out at UK Gov Over Whisky Tariff Cost

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has hit out at the UK Government for its “failure to act” on Scotch whisky tariffs imposed by the US.

The US introduced crippling tariffs on the sector more than a year ago, costing the industry £176million in the first part of 2020, according to figures previously release by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe).

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has now estimated that losses from exports have reached £500million.

In December it was reported that UK Government Tory ministers were planning to extend an olive branch to the new Biden administration in Washington in an attempt to have the tariffs lifted.

The Department of International Trade had said lifting the tariffs would be it’s ‘top priority’ but more than a year later the issue has continued to rumble on.
Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“The losses to Scotch Whisky exports are eye-watering and are simply unsustainable for this vitally important industry.

"For more than a year the Tories assured us that finding a solution to this crisis was their top priority.

“Their strategy of pandering to the disgraced Trump administration, however, entirely failed to deliver any resolution to this deeply damaging dispute, proving that Tories promises to Scotch Whisky industry ring just as hollow

as the promises they made to Scotland’s fishing and agriculture sectors.

“Scotch whisky plays a crucial role in the success of our global food and drinks sector and our economy but has been dealt a triple whammy with the economic impacts of the tariffs, Brexit and the pandemic.

“If the Tory government is serious about protecting our vital industries then it will take every step it can to oppose and end these punitive US-imposed tariffs."

Stewart Stevenson
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