Liz Truss will ‘jump on a plane to the US as soon as she can’ to lobby President Biden to drop punitive tariffs on Scotch whisky, sources said last night.
The International Trade Secretary had hoped to strike a last-minute deal with President Trump’s outgoing administration to remove the billions of pounds levied by Washington in 2019 on British products such as whisky, salmon and cashmere in a row with the EU.
For the Scotch whisky industry alone, it has led to export losses approaching £450 million. But it is understood that only half of the terms of a post-Brexit trade deal with the US have been finalised, leaving the rest to be negotiated by Ms Truss with Katherine Tai, the new trade supremo appointed by Mr Biden.
Liz Truss (pictured) will ‘jump on a plane to the US as soon as she can’ to lobby President Biden to drop punitive tariffs on Scotch whisky, sources said last night
For the Scotch whisky industry alone, it has led to export losses approaching £450 million
In a long-running dispute, the US imposed the tariffs on the EU in retaliation for support given to Airbus, the European aerospace corporation. The EU responded with tariffs on £3 billion of US goods over subsidies given to American-based plane-maker Boeing. The UK suspended the tariffs from January 1.
The Scotch Whisky Association says that exports to the US have fallen by more than 30 per cent in the past year, hitting brands such as Bell’s.
A source close to Ms Truss said last night: ‘No one has fought harder on the Scotch whisky issue than Liz and she is going to continue to push it with the Biden administration. She absolutely understands the pain of whisky producers and is determined to get these tariffs lifted to support jobs.
‘We are determined to be proactive – deal-makers rather than deal-takers. This whole issue shows why we’re better off as an independent trading nation.
‘The EU did very little to end this 16-year dispute and has failed to stand up for UK interests and Scottish interests in particular. Liz will be pressing hard on this with Ms Tai and will jump on a plane to the US as soon as she can.’