The United States Government has today announced plans to place a 25% import tariff on all Single Malt Scotch Whisky and Liqueurs from the UK, beginning on 18 October 2019. This change will have a negative impact on the Scotch Whisky industry as Single Malt Scotch Whisky currently represents over half of the total value of UK products on the US Government tariff list, amounting to over $460 million.
In 2018, the Scotch Whisky market in the UK exported £1 billion worth of whisky, including from the Chivas distillery in Dumbarton and the Loch Lomond distillery in Alexandria. This has grown rapidly from £280 million in 1994.
This tariff is expected to have an unhelpful impact on both employment opportunities and investment. The Scotch Whisky industry currently directly employs about 11,000 people in Scotland, and many more indirectly through its supply chain. Over 7,000 of these jobs are in rural areas of Scotland.
Jackie Baillie MSP said:
“This unjustified tariff is going to have disappointing consequences for my constituents who are employed by the Scotch Whisky industry and for the wider industry as a whole. It is unacceptable that the livelihoods of working people are being put at risk because of an ill-thought out change in US import policy.
“Along with the GMB trade union, I have repeatedly called on the UK Government to bring forward measures to defend whisky and white spirits manufacturing in the face of Brexit uncertainty and to stand-up to US demands on the removal of the geographical indicator protection for single malt production.
“For decades, the UK and US have worked well together in having a tariff-free trade agreement for spirits and this change will see both of our countries worse off. The UK government must now work with the US to negotiate a settlement in order to protect both our treasured industry and it’s valued workers.”