Scottish Tories call for American whiskey not to be included in EU retaliation against US trade tariffs

Scottish Conservative MPs have written to the European Commission calling for it not to include American whiskey in their countermeasures against the steel and aluminium tariffs imposed by the US.

Published 6th Jun 2018
Updated 9 th Aug 2023

American whiskey is included on the European Union’s list of US exports that could be targeted with additional duties.

There are fears of retaliation from the US by imposing damaging tariffs on Scotch Whisky.

The US was the largest export destination (defined by value) for Scotch Whisky in 2017, accounting for £922 million in exports.

The industry is concerned about the damage potential tariffs would cause. More than 40,000 jobs are supported by the Scotch Whisky industry across the UK with 7,000 being in rural Scotland.

The Scottish Conservative MPs met with the Secretary of State for International Trade, Rt Hon Liam Fox MP, to raise their concerns for the industry if American whiskey tariffs were to be imposed.

Scottish Conservative Douglas Ross MP, who has 40 percent of all Scotch Whisky distilleries in his Moray constituency, also raised the issue with Secretary of State for Scotland in the House of Commons. The Secretary of State is in contact with the Scotch Whisky Association on the matter.

Commenting, Scottish Conservative MP Douglas Ross said: “Many areas in rural Scotland, such as my constituents in Moray, depend on the jobs that are created from the Whisky industry.

“There is much to celebrate in the industry just now, with significant investment, but the EU could jeopardise the success of Scotch Whisky with their proposal.

“I’m extremely concerned about the possibility of the EU including bourbon in the countermeasures against the United States, as any American retaliation would hit jobs across Scotland that rely on our booming whisky industry.

“My Scottish Conservative colleagues and I will be doing our upmost to stop the inclusion of bourbon in retaliation plans by the EU.”

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