Current Location

Fetching weather...

Impact of US trade tariffs ‘being felt across Scotland’

Ivan McKee has warned of the damaging impact of US trade tariffs on Scottish products.

Whisky: Impact of trade tariffs being felt. <strong>© SWA</strong>
Whisky: Impact of trade tariffs being felt. © SWA

Trade minister Ivan McKee has warned of the damaging impact US trade tariffs on Scottish products could have on the economy.

Speaking at the Scottish Parliament on Thursday, he said tariffs of 25% on goods including Scotch whisky, biscuits and woollen and cashmere products will have a direct impact on businesses.

US President Donald Trump has been a vocal proponent of imposing tariffs on foreign goods.

Mr McKee said: “Trade disputes may seem far removed from most people’s day-to-day lives, but the impact of these tariffs on Scottish businesses, and potential on people’s jobs, is immediate and real. “Single malt Scotch whisky, cheese, butter, cashmere, and sweet biscuits including shortbread, are targeted by the tariffs.

“This is profoundly worrying for Scottish producers exporting, or planning to export, to the US.” He added that the impact of the tariffs is being felt across Scotland from the villages of Speyside to the west coast island distilleries and the textile manufacturers of the Borders”.

He added: “These US tariffs have seen Scotland caught up in a trade dispute not of our making.

“They have a direct impact on Scottish businesses, but post-Brexit tariffs with the EU would multiply the scale of this impact on the Scottish economy. “

Scottish Conservative MSP Dean Lockhart said Scotch whisky and other vital sectors had become collateral damage in a much wider US-EU trade dispute.

He added: “The only reason Scotch whisky and other sectors are being hit with US tariffs is because we are still members of the EU.

“And because in this trade dispute, the EU has prioritised the interests of European aerospace, French champagne and other European sectors at the expense of Scotch whisky.

“The reality is that after Brexit, we will be free to negotiate our own free trade agreements with the rest of the world. We can then prioritise the interests of Scotland’s whisky, fishing, agricultural and other vital sectors.”

Rhoda Grant, Labour’s finance spokeswoman, said she was “disappointed” by the decision to impose tariffs on Scottish goods, but not surprised.

She said: “This should really not surprise us. We’ve seen across the globe how the US uses its might to inflict its will on other nations because of their disproportionately large market.

“(The US) have shown that they’re not reasonable and our economy will be at their whim if we become too dependent on that trade. “Therefore, should Brexit happen, we need to retain very close relationships with the EU.

“We will not have the same voice, but we will need to ensure that we’re not too dependent on one market.”

Liberal Democrat MSP Mike Rumbles said: “Despite the current US president’s warm words about Brexit, his actions, aggressive nationalism and protectionism tell a completely different story.

“His values are not the values that we share. Everyone loses from escalating trade wars.

“Are we about to do a great and beneficial trade deal with Mr Trump? I think not.

“These trade tariffs will be a bitter blow to our rural economy and a bitter blow to jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.

“What is clear, however, is this is an example of the type of behaviour we’ll face if Brexit forces us into the hands of a US trade deal wished for by Mr Trump.”


You're up to date

You've read today's top stories. Where would you like to go next?