Whiskey makers raise their glasses after UK and US agree to suspend retaliatory tariffs on products, including Scotch malts, for five years as part of de-escalation of trade dispute Atlantic Ocean which dates back almost two decades.
Liz Truss, Britain’s Secretary for International Trade, said a “historic deal” had been reached with Washington to ensure that tariffs, which affected British exports to the United States worth $ 550 million pounds sterling, remain suspended.
It comes after the Biden administration agreed to a similar deal with the EU on Tuesday, as governments on both sides of the Atlantic take stronger action to resolve tensions over subsidies to aircraft manufacturers Airbus and Boeing.
The 17-year-long dispute, the longest in the history of the World Trade Organization, had led to damaging tariffs being levied on products on both sides over disagreements over support for the production of civilian aircraft from big capacity.
British goods that had been subject to tariffs – border taxes paid by buyers of goods from another country – included cashmere, machinery and single malt Scotch whiskey.
The Scotch Whiskey Association has said the past two years of tariffs – first imposed by Donald Trump – have been extremely damaging to the industry, with the loss of more than £ 600million in exports to the United States – United caused by a 25% tariff on single malt. Karen Betts, chief executive of the trade body, said: “This agreement eliminates the threat of reimposition of tariffs on Scotch whiskey next month and allows distillers to focus on recovering exports to our market from most important and most valuable export. “
Pig breeders in Yorkshire, Stilton cheese makers in the Midlands, cashmere producers in Ayrshire, construction vehicle manufacturers and producers of liqueurs and cordials had been hit by the tariffs on dozens of million pounds of exports.
Britain had been involved in the dispute as an EU member, but eased tensions earlier this year by unilaterally suspending tariffs on the United States. The government said this had encouraged the United States to agree to a four-month tariff suspension, until the two sides negotiated a longer-term deal.
The UK and US will now work together to put the deal into practice and strengthen cooperation in the large civil aircraft sector, he said.
It comes after Liz Truss met with U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai in London on Wednesday.
“Today’s agreement puts an end to an incredibly damaging problem and means we can focus on improving our trade relationship with the United States, including working more closely to challenge unfair country practices. like China and using the power of free trade to build better from the pandemic, ”Truss said.