Biden suspends Trump’s 25 percent tariff on Scotch whisky, but U.K. tariffs on U.S. bourbon remain

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The U.S. and Britain agreed Thursday to a five-year suspension of 25 percent tariffs on certain goods imposed under former President Donald Trump as part of a long trade dispute over subsidies to Boeing and its European rival, Airbus. The Biden administration and the European Union resolved the aerospace dispute earlier this week, paving the way for the suspension of the 2019 retaliatory tariffs. For Britain, which was part of the EU in 2019 but isn’t anymore, the highest-profile export hit in the trade war was single malt Scotch.

The 25 percent tariffs on Scotch led a 30 percent drop in exports to the U.S. in the 18 months through March 2021, the Scotch Whisky Association says. Thursday’s deal “enables distillers to focus on recovering exports to our largest and most valuable export market,” Karen Betts, the whisky association’s CEO, tells The Associated Press.

While Scotch can flow more freely to the U.S. now, the same isn’t true for bourbon in the U.K. American whiskeys still face a 25 percent tariff in Britain, under a different EU-U.S. trade dispute involving steel and aluminum. “We hope this positive momentum will also lead to the prompt and permanent removal of the EU and U.K.’s tariffs on American whiskeys,” said Chris Swonger, chief executive of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.


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