Good news for UK trade. The US has announced its decision to suspend tariffs on a range of imported UK goods, including whiskey, cheese, cashmere, and machinery.
The decision means the US will temporarily suspend all tariffs on direct exports from the UK for at least 4 months whilst the two sides seek a long-term agreement.
This suspension is in light of the UK’s decision in January to drop tariffs on some US goods in an attempt to settle a longstanding trade dispute regarding aerospace tariffs.
This dispute is decades old and has seen the EU and the US target each other’s exports with taxes. Although the UK is no longer part of the EU, the European company, Airbus, still assembles its commercial aircrafts in the UK – that’s why the UK is still involved in this EU/US dispute.
The tariff suspension is good news as it will help protect jobs on both sides of the Atlantic, this is especially true for industries hit particularly hard by the measures. Whiskey is one of the UK’s largest food and drink exports, sending a total of £340m worth to the US in 2018, this is a large proportion of the goods exported to the US impacted by these tariffs which totalled around £550m in the same year.
The Prime Minister said:
“From Scotch Whisky distillers to Stilton-makers, businesses across the UK will benefit from the US decision today to suspend tariffs in this dispute.
It shows what the UK can do as an independent trading nation, striking deals that back our businesses and support free and fair trade.
I now look forward to strengthening the UK-US relationship, as we drive economic growth and build back better together.”
The tariff suspension will not only benefit Whiskey producers across the UK but also:
- Cashmere producers in Ayrshire. 2018 saw the UK export around £11m worth of clothing affected by the tariff to the US, of which around £6m was cashmere.
- Stilton makers in the Midlands. In 2018, the UK exported around £45m of cheese to the US, of which £4m was stilton alone.
- Pig farmers in Yorkshire. The UK exported a total of £38m worth of pig meat to the US in 2018 which was targeted by the tariffs.
The Department for International Trade will continue its relationship with the US in an attempt to find a long-term resolution to the dispute, to remove unfair tariffs and benefit the UK.
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