The Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. (DISCUS) and the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) joined together today to toast the end of retaliatory tariffs on American Whiskey and Scotch Whisky in trade disputes wholly unrelated to the distilling sector.
Securing the return to zero-for-zero tariffs would not have been possible without the dedication and strong leadership of UK Secretary of State for International Trade, Rt. Hon Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP and her predecessor Rt. Hon Liz Truss MP, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, and Ambassador Katherine Tai. We thank them and their teams for their determination to end tariffs on our sectors.
Now that the crippling tariffs have ended, we stand ready to help reset and strengthen the crucial trans-Atlantic trade relationship. This enduring partnership is critical to accelerating the recovery from the damaging impact of retaliatory tariffs, the Covid pandemic, and the increasing pressures on global supply chains.
American Whiskey and Scotch Whisky are deeply interconnected through bi-lateral trade, investment flows, and shared production practices. Important trade agreements reached between the U.S. and EU in the mid-1990s – which the UK has subsequently carried over – to eliminate tariffs on most spirits, including Scotch Whisky, Bourbon, and Tennessee Whiskey, form the foundation of mutually beneficial trans-Atlantic trade.
Between 1997-2017, when there were no tariffs on distilled spirits between the US and UK, bilateral trade in whiskies increased 212% (from $453 million to $1.41 billion). The devastating retaliatory tariffs imposed on Single Malt Scotch Whisky and the American Whiskeys resulted in a 35% decrease in bilateral trade in whisk(e)y between 2018-2021 (from $1.51 billion to $982 million).
The benefits of free trade are clear, and we champion it. We look forward to focusing on bringing our whiskies to consumers around the world and competing in the marketplace on a level playing field.
We strongly support efforts by our governments to further enhance U.S.-UK trade through sectoral agreements and the relaunch of negotiations for a bilateral U.S.-UK Free Trade Agreement. We look forward to playing our part in growing trade between our two great countries and strengthening the special relationship which exists between the US and UK and our world-class whiskies.
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