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Scotch whisky: Liz Truss contacts Joe Biden’s team for tariffs talks

US President-elect Joe Biden.
US President-elect Joe Biden.

Trade Secretary Liz Truss has requested an urgent meeting with the incoming US administration over ending Donald Trump’s punitive trade tariffs, which have so far cost the Scotch whisky industry more than £450 million.

Ms Truss told MPs her department had been “working hard to de-escalate the trade conflict” and that she had been in contact with President-elect Joe Biden’s team.

President Trump imposed 25% tariffs on a number of British exports in October 2019 as retaliation for the EU’s illegal subsidies to plane-maker Airbus.

In August last year the tariff was renewed for another 180 days.

Scotch whisky tariffs
US President Donald Trump.

Ms Truss said: “I’ve been clear with the United States and the European Union that we want to de-escalate this dispute and reach a negotiated settlement.

“This has been already been going on for 16 years and has caused much damage.

“I’m seeking an early meeting with the new US Trade Representative, Katherine Tai, and this will be one of the items on my agenda.”

Scotch whisky tariffs
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss.

Asked about compensation for affected firms, Ms Truss hinted the Treasury could be willing to pay out.

She said: “We are looking at supporting industry, including the BEIS fund that will invest £10 million to help distilleries go green, and no doubt the Treasury also looking at other affected industries as well.”

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