UK ministers are being urged to set out what action is being taken over tariffs imposed on key Scottish exports by the US which are causing “significant harm” to businesses.

Scottish trade minister Ivan McKee is also calling on Westminster to do more to support the affected industries.

The 25% tariff on Scotch single malt whisky, cheese and cashmere was introduced by the US last October in retaliation against EU subsidies given to aircraft maker Airbus.

McKee said the charges are not only damaging Scotland’s economy but are also causing “significant harm” to businesses, many of which are based in small, rural communities.

He added that their impact has been “compounded by the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic”.

McKee has now written to UK trade minister Greg Hands, calling on him to share a “detailed account of the UK Government’s plans regarding the management, mitigation and route for removal of these tariffs going forward”.

The UK Government is also being urged to set out what engagement it has with the European Union to settle the dispute that resulted in the tariffs being imposed.

McKee asked what support for businesses the UK Government is “willing to put in place to cushion the impacts of these tariffs in the meantime”.

He stated: “These tariffs have been in place for almost a year now, denting our export performance, damaging our economy and causing real and significant harm to, and anxiety over, the future viability of individual businesses, particularly those in small, rural communities.

“Efforts to absorb the ensuing additional costs and weather these impacts are becoming increasingly unsustainable.

“This jeopardises not just the distilleries, cheese and knitwear businesses themselves but the longer-term prosperity of the communities in which they are located, who depend on these industries also for the wider income they generate through hospitality and tourism.”

A UK Government spokesperson said it was stepping up talks with the US over the issue and accused the EU of “failing to stand up for British and Scottish business”.

They added: “We are fighting incredibly hard on this issue. US tariffs on key Scottish products are unacceptable, unfair and harm industry and consumers on both sides of the Atlantic.”