Major UK business advocacy groups have said the US’ decision to not slap more tariffs on British goods is no cause to celebrate as businesses continue to feel the pinch from existing measures.
The US made the decision today to not impose planned punitive tariffs on £5.75bn of British goods as a part of a long-running dispute between Airbus and Boeing.
However, it did not lift existing 15 per cent tariffs on Airbus aircraft – partially manufactured in the UK – and 25 per cent tariffs on goods such as Scottish Whisky.
Tariffs on UK made shortbreads were lifted and replaced with taxes on other German and French goods.
CBI head of trade Jonathan Brenton said businesses “across the country will be relieved with the decision to not increase tariffs”, but that “existing tariffs continue to have damaging effects across industries unrelated to the aircraft industry”.
“We urge the US government to reconsider these actions and reconvene with the European Commission to resolve existing trade barriers as soon as possible,” he said.
“A resolution that protects people’s livelihoods, communities and minimises further disruption so firms can focus on their recovery is possible.”
The Institute of Directors’ head of EU trade and policy Alexandra Renison added: “This now a full-blown trade war, and while the US has now removed some tariffs thanks to the efforts of government, deeply damaging ones on whisky remain.
“Given this issue predates FTA talks, these barriers need to come down with or without a deal.”
The UK and US are currently negotiating a free trade deal, with talks still far from yielding an agreement.
Last year, some government figures said the aim was to have a deal done this year, however this was always considered unlikely.
Some of the key sticking points in negotiations are agriculture exports from the US and digital services.