Business leaders have welcomed the temporary suspension of US tariffs on Scottish products such as whisky and cheese.

Washington will suspend tariffs on a range of goods, cutting the 25 per cent tariff rate on Scotch whisky to zero per cent for four months, according to the Department for International Trade.

Donald Trump's administration hit the European Union with tariffs on £5.6 billion worth of goods, including on cashmere producers, pig farmers and cheese-makers, will also benefit from the suspension of tariffs in retaliation for state support given to Airbus, with products including Scotch whisky badly affected by the measures.

Liz Cameron, director and chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: “We lift a dram while wearing our cashmere jumpers to those who have worked to suspend these damaging and unnecessary tariffs on key Scottish exports.

"The USA are our allies and a significant buyer of our goods and the warming of trade relations is an excellent sign. We look forward to both governments working together to settle this issue permanently as we narrow in on a trade deal.”

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Ivan Menezes, chief executive of drinks giant Diageo, welcomed the move and said: "Today is a very good day for Scotch and Scotland.

"We recognise the Government's tireless efforts, using the UK's newly independent trade policy, to deliver the suspension and hopefully in time, a permanent end to these punitive tariffs."

East Lothian arable farmer Willie Thomson, who chairs NFU Scotland’s combinable crops committee, said: “As Scotland’s growers gear up for spring planting, the news that the USA has decided to suspend its tariff on malt whisky, imposed as a result of the dispute with the EU over support to an aircraft manufacturer, is very welcome. 

“The Scotch Whisky Association has estimated that since the 25 per cent tariff was imposed on single malt Scotch Whisky in October 2019, exports of Scotch to the US have fallen by 35 percent, amounting to more than £500m in lost exports.”

Paul Grant, chairman of the Scottish Dairy Growth Board, said: “This is great news.  It comes on the back of our refreshed Scottish Dairy Growth Strategy, entitled ‘Scotland’s Dairy Sector – Rising to the Top 2030’ being launched this week.

“In that vision, the USA was highlighted as presenting a major opportunity for growth in Scottish cheese sales.

“I look forward to our innovative cheesemakers securing a long term future in this market and building our exports as a result.” 

Tony Danker, CBI director-deneral, said: “The duties on these goods were harming business and consumers on both sides of the Atlantic.”

HeraldScotland: Getty Images.Getty Images.

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