US hits Scotch whisky with 25% tariffs

The Trump administration has put 25% tariffs on single-malt Scotch whisky, French wine and Italian cheese in retaliation for European Union subsidies on large aircraft, Reuters reported.

The US Trade Representative’s Office released a list of hundreds of European products that will get new tariffs.

The new tariffs are to take effect as early as October 18.

The United States became the first billion pound export market for Scotch whisky last year, growing to £1.04 billion.

Official figures from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) show that the total export value of Scotch whisky grew 7.8% to a record £4.7 billion in 2018. 

The US Trade Representative’s Office said it would “continually re-evaluate these tariffs based on our discussions with the EU” and expects to enter talks in a bid to resolve the dispute.

“Finally, after 15 years of litigation, the WTO has confirmed that the United States is entitled to impose countermeasures in response to the EU’s illegal subsidies,” said US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in a statement.

“We expect to enter into negotiations with the European Union aimed at resolving this issue in a way that will benefit American workers.”

More than 10,000 people are directly employed in the Scotch Whisky industry — with more than 40,000 jobs across the UK supported by Scotch.