British PM Boris Johnson says US tariffs on scotch should be removed

US whisky gets a EU tariff hangover

Distilled Spirits Council president and CEO Chris Swonger discusses how EU tariffs are impacting the U.S. whiskey market.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday said U.S. tariffs on Scottish malt whisky should be removed, declaring “we will fight it every step of the way.”

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The U.S. imposed a 25% tariff on imports of Single Malt Scotch Whisky in October 2019.

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“We will continue to take a very robust line,” Johnson told parliament, according to Reuters. “It cannot be right that American consumers should continue to pay over the odds for Scotch (whisky). It cannot be right that this discrimination should continue, and we will fight it every step of the way.”

Johnson said he has addressed the issue several times with President Trump.

The Scotch Whisky Association said exports of Scotch Whisky to the U.S. have fallen by more than 30% since the tariff was imposed, resulting in a loss of over $258 million (200 million British pounds).

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The Scotch Whisky industry is worth over $7.1 billion (5.5 billion British pounds) to the U.K. economy, according to the association, and employs 11,000 people in Scotland with an additional 40,000 jobs supported by its supply chain throughout the U.K.

American whisky distilleries have had a 25% tariff on their exports to the European Union for two years, the association said. Their exports have fallen by a third during this period.

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Negotiations for a free trade agreement between the U.S. and the U.K. are ongoing.

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