US export tariff relaxation boosts whisky, meat and cheese

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Relaxations on US tariffs on UK goods are set to benefit members of the food and drink industry
Relaxations on US tariffs on UK goods are set to benefit members of the food and drink industry

Related tags Meat & Seafood Dairy

Whisky, meat and cheese exports are set to benefit from a relaxation on retaliatory tariffs on direct exports from the UK to the US.

Around £550m worth of UK exports will be exempt from tariffs originally imposed as a result of a row over subsidies to aerospace companies Boeing and Airbus in 2018. The measures followed a unilateral decision by the UK to suspend tariffs against the US from January 1.

This measure will come into force on Monday March 8, backdated to March 4.

Industries highlighted by the Government to benefit included the Yorkshire pork producers who exported £38m worth of product before the tariffs and £45m worth of cheese exports – £4m of which was stilton cheese.

Hit to whisky exports

Scotch whisky took the largest hit, with the US importing around £340m of goods before the tariffs were imposed.

Prime minister Boris Johnson said the agreement will benefit both the UK and the US and proved the UK’s worth as an independent trading nation, able to strike its own deals that support businesses and free trade.

International trade secretary Liz Truss added: “This is Global Britain in action: securing new opportunities as a newly nimble nation. Today’s agreement shows that both the UK and the US are determined to work together to build back better and take our trading relationship to new heights.”

The UK will continue to engage with the US to agree a fair settlement to the dispute that permanently removes punitive tariffs and works for the whole of the UK. The Government reserves the right to re-impose tariffs at any point if satisfactory progress towards an agreeable settlement is not made.

‘Cornerstone of the industry’

Scottish secretary Alister Jack said: “This is great news for the Scottish whisky industry – a cornerstone of Scotland’s economy. The UK Government has fought incredibly hard on this issue, petitioning the highest levels of the US administration to remove tariffs which were harming our Scottish exporters.

“I look forward to our close trading relationship with the US going from strength to strength, opening up new opportunities for Scottish businesses.”

Meanwhile, the UK Government must maintain high food standards for imports,​ rewarding countries who meet them with zero tariffs, and meet consumers' ethical expectations, the newly formed Trade & Agriculture Commission (TAC) claims.

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