TRADE Secretary Liz Truss flies to the US today to save UK booze industry jobs.
She wants tariffs on Scotch whisky lifted.
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And Ms Truss will urge her US counterpart not to slap them on our gin exports. She has packed a bottle of Hendrick’s gin to smooth the way when she meets Bob Lighthizer in Washington on Monday.
A source said: “It’ll give him a taste of what Americans could be missing out on if they don’t deal.”
Around 6,500 UK distillery jobs are in the balance after President Trump slapped a 25 per cent levy on malt whisky last October in a row with the EU.
Scotch whisky exports to the US have fallen by 25 per cent, costing £30million a month. Now the spirits industry fears extra costs on gin, vodka and beer.
But Ms Truss will demand the tit-for-tat tariffs are removed before talks begin on a US-UK free trade deal. She also wants the “ridiculous” ban on UK lamb lifted, along with tariffs on steel, cars, machinery, clothes, cheese and biscuits. She said: “I’ll be fighting hard for British interests.”
Liam Manton, of the UK Spirits Alliance, said: “I hope she’s ready to stand up for British distillers who are days away from being hit with further punitive tariffs.”
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