UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said tariffs placed on Scottish malt whisky by the United States “cannot be right” and should be removed, Reuters reported.
Johnson said the UK Government will fight the tariffs “every step of the way.”
Scotch exports to the US are down 30% since the tariff came into effect, amounting to over £200 million in lost exports.
The Scotch Whisky industry employs 11,000 people in Scotland and its supply chain supports 40,000 jobs throughout the UK.
Scotch is worth over £5.5 billion to the UK economy.
“We will continue to take a very robust line. It cannot be right that American consumers should continue to pay over the odds for Scotch (whisky),” Johnson told the UK parliament.
“It cannot be right that this discrimination should continue and we will fight it every step of the way,” he said, adding he had already raised the matter several times with President Donald Trump.
The Scotch Whisky Association tweeted: “We welcome today’s comments from Prime Minister @BorisJohnson that US tariffs on #ScotchWhisky are unfair – it is critical that efforts continue to #CallTimeOnTariffs ahead of the US elections.”
The US government said last month it will maintain 15% tariffs on Airbus aircraft and 25% tariffs on other European and UK goods — including Single Malt Scotch Whisky — as part of a 16-year trade dispute over state aid for Airbus and American rival Boeing.
Scotch Whisky exports overall grew 4.4% to a record £4.91 billion in 2019, with 1.3 billion bottles exported to 180 markets.
However, the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) said the tariff on the import of Single Malt Scotch Whisky and Scotch Whisky liqueurs into the United States contributed to a 25% fall in exports to the US in the fourth quarter of 2019.