Stirling MP Alyn Smith has thrown his support behind a national GMB Scotland campaign, urging the UK government to take decisive action to protect the whiskey & spirits industry against devastating US trade tariffs.
As part of a running trade dispute between the United States and the European Union, US tariffs on such products have exacerbated existing pressures faced by the industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A review of the US tariffs in August kept products such as gin off the list of affected goods for the moment, whilst industry leaders remain increasingly concerned over the long-term economic effect tariffs may have on the industry’s future.
In an open letter signed by Alyn Smith, GMB Scotland have claimed economic devastation awaits communities across Scotland if the UK government does not urgently act to protect the industry and jobs.
Alyn Smith MP said:
‘Whilst I welcome the exclusion of gin and other goods from the increased tariffs, this is little consolation for our domestic whiskey industry and other spirit distilleries. Some of these high quality products are produced locally here in Stirling, and sought the world over – these businesses are an absolute jewel in the crown of Scotland’s international reputation and economy.
‘This is a dereliction of duty from the UK government, and a real failure to safeguard Scotland’s economic and trade interests. I urge rapid, targeted relief measures for an industry with much to offer the national economy, and for deeper cooperation with our European allies to find a workable long-term solution.’
GMB Campaign: https://www.gmb.org.uk/news/gmb-statement-whisky-tariffs
News on August 2020 tariff review: https://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2020/08/spirits-industry-dismayed-by-tariff-decision/
Background from Reuters: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trade-europe-analysis/as-trump-takes-aim-at-eu-trade-european-officials-brace-for-fight-idUSKBN2051AK