JOE Biden has been urged to lift "damaging" whisky tariffs in a direct personal appeal.

In a highly unusual move, MSP Gil Paterson has revealed the heartfelt letter he's sent to the US President calling for an end to punishing tariffs imposed by Donald Trump.

According to figures released earlier this month, that 25% levy has cost the Scotch Whisky industry more than half a billion pounds in lost sales since October 2019.

Exports to America have tumbled by one third since the Trump administration brought in the change as part of a trade dispute with the European Union over aircraft subsidies.

Paterson says Scotch Whisky is "an innocent victim caught in the crossfire of a trade dispute between the UK and USA it is not involved with in any way".

In a letter to Biden, he tells how the Scottish Government "has no direct influence" on the issue as those powers are withheld to Westminster.

READ MORE: US tariffs cost Scotch Whisky exporters £500m as sector makes urgent call for aid

And the long-serving MSP for Clydebank and Milngavie says he fears his constituency could be hit with job losses unless Biden acts.

The area includes the Auchentoshan Distillery — owned by US-Japanese corporation Beam Suntory, which also produces Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark.

The Clydebank site produced gallons of free hand sanitiser for the NHS and local authorities last year to help the fight against Covid-19.

In a personal appeal to Biden, Paterson said: "The Auchentoshan Distillery stepped up to the plate when the Scottish people were in trouble by putting those in need first. Therefore, I owe them my best endeavours and I am obligated to do what I can to help them in return.

"That is why I have taken the unusual step to write to you directly, seeking your assistance and hoping you are able to look at the impact that this is having, and I would seek a sympathetic intervention to take Scotch out of the dispute for the previously stated reasons."

He goes on: "Unfortunately, Scotland has no direct influence on these matters.

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"I am asking, as someone who has shown he cares about justice and people and who may be able to intervene, it would be nice if this public-spirited company was helped. Being a man of the people yourself, you will understand my action in this regard."

Paterson, who will retire before the Scottish Parliament election in May, commented: "I am appealing directly to President Joe Biden to intervene and help resolve this crisis for Scotch Whisky exports, which is to the detriment of Scotland and our American customers.

"What is most worrying is the impact it could have on employment here in Clydebank, as we rely on employment at Auchentoshan Distillery, which is in the constituency, and in nearby Edrington and Chivas distilleries.

"What we need is the removal of the tariff, so we may see this great Scottish industry continue to thrive."