THE new US presidential administration has agreed to completely remove the tariffs which had been imposed on Scotch whisky.

The 25 per cent tariff on whisky exports will now be reduced to zero for the next four months.

Karen Betts, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, said the industry was “breathing a sigh of relief” after the industry saw a 35 per cent fall in exports to the States.

Betts said this fall, a result of the tariffs imposed in response to EU support for the Airbus plane company, had cost Scottish distillers more than half a billion pounds.

She said: “This is fabulous news, and our industry is delighted. The tariff on Single Malt Scotch Whisky exports to the US has been doing real damage to Scotch Whisky in the sixteen months it has been in place, with exports to the US falling by 35%, costing companies over half a billion pounds.

“So today, everyone in our industry – from small companies to large – is breathing a sigh of relief.

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“Suspending these tariffs – stemming from a transatlantic trade dispute that had nothing to do with us – and a return to tariff-free trade with the US means livelihoods and communities across Scotland will be protected. It means that companies can now really focus on recovery – on building back the American market as well as on building back global exports hit by the coronavirus pandemic.”

Betts thanked the UK Government for their hard work, saying that distillers will be “raising a dram” to International Trade Secretary Liz Truss.

The National: Joe Biden's administration has lifted the tariffs imposed by his predecessor'sJoe Biden's administration has lifted the tariffs imposed by his predecessor's

She added: “The UK Government and the new US administration will now need to work hard on finding a negotiated settlement to this long-running aerospace dispute. We hope too that both governments will be able to find a rapid, pragmatic solution to the steel and aluminium dispute which still impacts US whiskey exports to the UK.”

The announcement comes after months of negotiation between the UK Government’s Department for International Trade (DfT) and Donald Trump’s administration to remove the levy, which has been in place since October 2019.

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The tariffs arose after a dispute between the US and EU over illegal subsidies paid to their aircraft manufacturers, Boeing and Airbus, respectively.

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) found that the EU and the US had both given the firms subsidies that they shouldn't have, and as a result, the US was allowed to impose tariffs on EU goods worth up to £7.5bn.

The trade body also gave the EU permission to impose $4bn worth of levies on US products including a 25% import fee on rum, brandy, vodka and vermouth.

In December, Liz Truss, the Minister for International Trade announced the UK was dropping its levies on US bourbon in a move hoped to break the stalemate on negotiations, however President Trump refused to budge on the whisky fees, and he ended his presidency with them still in place.

Today they have been lifted for four months, alongside tariffs on cashmere.