Sir Keir Starmer has called on the UK Government to negotiate with Joe Biden’s administration to remove US tariffs on Scotch whisky, according to a report.
The Labour leader said there was an opportunity for the UK to “reset” its relationship with the White House following the departure of Donald Trump.
Tariffs of £5.6bn were imposed by former president Donald Trump’s administration in retaliation for state support given to Airbus, with products including Scotch whisky badly affected by the measures.
Writing in The Herald, Sir Keir said: “With Joe Biden now in the White House, the United Kingdom has the opportunity to reset our relationship with the United States. It is a chance for both nations to work together to reverse some of the economic damage done by Trump and his administration.
“This will take time and it will not be easy. One particularly harmful legacy Trump leaves behind is the punitive tariffs imposed on Scotch whisky and other vital Scottish exports.
“When businesses are working flat out to weather the storm of the coronavirus, the 25% imposed on Scotch whisky and other UK goods was an act of economic and diplomatic vandalism.
“Now, with a new president and a new administration in place, the UK Government must seize this opportunity and appeal to Joe Biden to reverse Trump’s harmful tariffs.”
The EU responded to the move by Trump’s administration with tariffs on £3bn of US goods over subsidies given to Boeing.
In December, the UK announced it would suspend those measures from January 1, presenting it as an olive branch to the US post-Brexit.
The Government hopes the move will help bring the US towards a reasonable settlement over the Airbus-Boeing row and show that the UK is serious about reaching a negotiated outcome.