Scotch whisky makers welcome suspension of costly US tariffs

LONDON (AP) — Scotch single malt whisky makers breathed a sigh of relief Thursday after the United States agreed to suspend tariffs on one of Scotland’s main exports in the wake of the resolution of a long-standing transatlantic trade row over subsidies to aircraft companies Boeing and Airbus.

President Donald Trump imposed the 25% tariffs on select products of the European Union, including Scotch single malt whiskies, in October 2019 as part of the trade dispute. While the U.K. is no longer an EU member, it belonged to the bloc when the tariffs were introduced.

Earlier this week, the U.S. and the EU reached an agreement to end the aerospace dispute, paving the way for a 5-year suspension of tariffs. Parallel talks were held between the U.S. and the U.K. over the tariffs.

The tariffs on Scotch single malts were the most high-profile to affect Britain. The Scotch Whisky Association estimated that they contributed to a 30% fall in total whisky exports to the U.S., equivalent to around 600 million pounds ($850 million) in the 18 months to March 2021.

“This deal removes the threat of tariffs being re-imposed on Scotch whisky next month and enables distillers to focus on recovering exports to our largest and most valuable export market,” Karen Betts, the association’s chief executive, said.

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