Negotiations between London and Washington started as the UK left the European Union, entering a transition period to conclude trade deals, but the talks were soon interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.
British Trade Secretary Elizabeth Truss on Thursday stated that she will step up talks with the United States in order to remove tariffs on single malt Scotch whisky as soon as possible, adding they are “damaging industry and livelihoods on both sides of the Atlantic”, noting they are in nobody’s interests.
The trade secretary made the statement in response to a US decision to retain tariffs on EU goods, announced on Wednesday.
“The tariff is inflicting huge damage on the Scotch Whisky sector, with exports to the US down 30% since the tariff came into effect and the industry grappling with losses now totalling around 300 million pounds ($392 million)”, Chief Executive of the Scotch Whisky Association Karen Betts said, addressing the decision.
The whisky, imported to America in large quantities, was caught in the crossfire and slapped with a 25-percent tariff as a result of a trade dispute between the US and Brussels.
Washington put the levy on multiple European products after getting permission from the World Trade Organisation to take $7.5 billion in retaliatory trade measures for Airbus subsidies. According to the US, Airbus is vastly oversubsidised by European governments, while the EU complained Boeing is vastly oversubsidised by American federal and state governments.
The row concerning the air manufacturers led to the tariffs, which hit the UK, Germany, France, and Spain.
While the levies were imposed on single malts, other types of Scotch whisky are not covered by the tariffs – but might be added to the list, as well as British gin and salmon, according to the BBC.