THE SNP are ramping up pressure on the Tory Government to protect Scotland’s vital Scotch whisky industry – as the impact of punishing US tariffs are felt across the sector.

Speaking ahead of a Westminster Hall debate yesterday on the effect of US tariffs on the Scotch whisky industry, SNP MP Peter Grant also warned that leaving the EU would risk a “race to the bottom” deal with the US – with Scotland’s food and drinks sector paying the price.

In October 2019, Donald Trump imposed tariffs of 25% on a broad variety of products, including single malt Scotch whisky. The tariffs have disproportionately affected Scottish produce and smaller producers have been hit the hardest.

This week, the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) estimated that the tariffs could cost up to £100 million in sales a year, as it reportedly joined forces with the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States to press for the UK and US governments to remove hefty export tariffs on their whiskies.

READ MORE: FACT CHECK: Claim SNP is responsible for cost of whisky in Scotland

Grant, an SNP Treasury spokesperson, said: “Hundreds of Scottish exporters have faced paying the price of punishing US trade tariffs – including Scotland’s world-renowned Scotch whisky industry.

“I was part of an all-party group of MPs who met represen-tatives of Scotland’s whisky producers, large and small, and it was very clear that the impact of the tariffs are already being felt.

“In November 2019, the value of single malt Scotch whisky exports to the USA were £25.7m– compared with £38.6m in November 2018.

“Scotch whisky is crucial to Scotland’s thriving food and drinks sector, with the EU representing the largest single regional export market for Scotch whisky. The grim reality of Brexit is that Scotland faces being dragged into a race to the bottom trade deal that risks selling out our key industries.”