EDINBURGH, Scotland (AFP) — Scotland’s whisky industry is facing a $130 million fall in exports as a 25% tariff on imports of single malt Scotch into the United States starts to “hit hard,” according to an industry body.
The tariff took effect on Oct. 18 after Washington retaliated with trade tariffs on the European Union over state subsidies for aircraft manufacturer Airbus.
“We’re deeply disappointed that a 25% tariff remains in place on exports of Single Malt Scotch Whisky and Liqueurs to the United States,” the chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, Karen Betts, said in a statement.
“This tariff has now been in place for four months and is hitting Scotch Whisky producers hard, particularly small distilleries.
“We’ve seen a significant drop in exports already, and based on this we believe we could be facing at least £100 million ($130 million) in lost exports over a year.”
Betts said the EU, U.S. and U.K. must “redouble their efforts” to resolve transatlantic trade disputes so Scotch and American whiskies can return to tariff-free trade.
The association welcomed Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s commitment to remove EU tariffs on U.S. whiskey as soon as possible.
But it said once this happens, London must work to ensure that Washington reciprocates.
In the meantime, the association said the U.K. government could mitigate the impacts of tariffs by cutting excise duties on spirits in the upcoming budget.
Betts said it would “go some way” to helping Scotch whisky businesses strengthen their presence in the U.K. to counterbalance losses across the Atlantic.
© Agence France-Presse