International trade secretary Liz Truss has told MPs today that she will meet with Joe Biden’s top trade negotiator in short time to discuss US tariffs on Scotch whisky.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Truss said: “I have been clear with the United States and the European Union that we want to de-escalate this dispute and reach a negotiated settlement – this dispute has already been going on for 16 years and has caused much damage.
“I am seeking an early meeting with the new US trade representative Katherine Tai and this will be one of the items on my agenda.”
The US levelled tariffs on several European countries in 2019 – after permission from the World Trade Organisation (WTO) – as a part of a long-running dispute between Airbus and Boeing.
This included tariffs on billions of pounds of British products, such as whisky, salmon and cashmere.
Export losses on Scotch whisky as a result of the US tariffs are approaching £450m.
“We’ve been working hard to de-escalate this conflict and get punitive tariffs removed on both sides of the Atlantic, that is the way forward not escalating this tariffs dispute,” Truss said.
Talks between Truss and Tai on US tariffs on British goods would happen alongside negotiations for a UK-US trade deal.
City A.M. reported on Tuesday that the UK will try to add environmental and climate change provisions in trade negotiations in an attempt to get a deal over the line with Biden’s administration.
It is understood that around 50 per cent of the deal has already been done with Donald Trump’s US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
A senior International Trade Department source said “it’s no secret that we need to tick key political boxes to get a deal over the line with Biden” and that “the environment and climate change definitely will tick those boxes”.