Tuesday, May 17, 2022
BusinessWater of strife: Trump tariff knocked at least 10% off Scotch whisky...

Water of strife: Trump tariff knocked at least 10% off Scotch whisky exports to US

PUNITIVE US tariffs on single malt Scotch whisky knocked at least 10% off sales, according to research.

The 25% tariffs cost whisky producers in the region of £45m – £90m in lost sales between their imposition in October 2019 and suspension in March this year.

The figures were released by the Scottish Government, which claimed UK Government “posturing” on international trade had cost the whisky industry dear.

Former President Trump imposed the tariffs as a result of the long-running trade dispute between the US and European Union over their aircraft industries.

A glass of whisky being poured into a glass
Dylan de Jonge

The Scottish Government estimated the impact of US tariffs on UK exports of single malt Scotch whisky between Q4 2019 – Q4 2020.

The findings suggest that the quantity of single malt exports declined by between 9.5% and 19.6% over the period.

Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “Up to five million fewer litres of single malt [was] sent to America between the fourth quarter of 2019 and the fourth quarter of 2020.

“The 25% tariff imposed on imports of single malt Scotch whisky due to the long-running trade dispute – which had nothing to do with Scottish producers – meant that Scotland was once again disproportionally hit by the UK Government’s posturing on international trade.”

Gougeon added: “America is the largest single destination for exports of Scotch whisky and we repeatedly highlighted the negative impact of this trade dispute on one of our most iconic industries which provides valuable jobs among some of our most economically fragile communities.

“While we are pleased that the dispute and the sanctions has now been suspended, the impact on Scottish producers was significant and highlights why we should have a meaningful role in trade discussions to ensure that the interests of the Scottish economy are protected.”

The tariffs have been temporarily suspended since March 2021, and in June 2021, the UK and US administrations agreed on a five year suspension.

Single malt Scotch whisky exports to the US were valued at £344 million in 2018, accounting for 26% of total overseas single malt exports, and 21% of total drink exports to the US.

The report can be viewed here: Estimating the impacts of US tariffs on UK exports of single malt Scotch whisky – gov.scot (www.gov.scot).


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