Whisky tariffs threaten 22,000 jobs, GMB warns

The GMB union has called for an end to the US whisky tariffs that it says threaten 22,000 whisky and spirit industry jobs.

GMB said its new analysis shows the spirit industry in Scotland employs 9,000 people directly – and a further 14,700 jobs supply chain jobs across the UK. 

Keir Greenaway, GMB Scotland Organiser, said: “The Conservative Government has repeatedly ignored GMB warnings and left the Scottish whisky industry exposed to attacks from the US.

“These tariffs constitute a direct threat to the Scottish economy and to more than 20,000 jobs across the UK.”

Last week, representatives of the UK and US whisky industries called for the end of “punitive tariffs that are wiping millions off export values every month.”

The chief executives of the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) and the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) called on the UK and US governments to urgently find a negotiated solution to unrelated trade disputes and to remove all tariffs on distilled spirits.

A 25% tariff was imposed on imports of US whiskey into the EU in June 2018, in response to US tariffs on European steel and aluminium.

In October 2019, the US imposed a 25% tariff on imports of Single Malt Scotch Whisky to the US in the long-running dispute over EU and US subsidies to Airbus and Boeing.